De Schepper, Arnold - Topical Mattesr Blues

Year of Release: 2002
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:59:00

With a title like this, one could be mistaken and think this album will contain none other than pure, authentic blues material. However Arnold De Schepper used be the guitarist/songwriter of Belgian symphonic rock band Isopoda who released two albums which were loved internationally because of their strong Genesis influences. Both Acrostichon and Taking Root have by now been re-released on the Musea label. After Isopoda, Arnold fronted a short lived band called Easy Heart who released a self- financed mini album. Years later and no fewer than eleven brand new songs were composed and recorded; however, it took a further year before the album was finally released. The inevitable search for a record company started yet no one will be surprised to hear that in the end Arnold decided to make it yet another self-financed album, just to make sure the right people can get their hands on the right music!

Starting with the sound of a merry-go-round, it's as if Topical Matters Blues will be Arnold De Scheper's autobiographical journey in time. The damaged black/white picture of a young Arnold follows you during eleven original compositions, an album which should have been released in April 2001, yet the delayed artwork soon added an extra year. Mainly backed by partner in crime, ex-Isopoda and ex-Easy Heart compatriot Luc Vanhove, De Schepper once again emphasizes on the lyrical contents, thus omitting the almost legendary guitar solos. Arnold tries to get as far away from his Isopoda period as possible, delivering "pop with a twist" rather than a collection of Genesis clones. The melody in "After Closing Time" takes me right back to the more direct material on Isopoda's second album Taking Root. For the first time on this album I will use the name Solution as a reference because of the superb saxophone solo here, which reminds me of the great Tom Barlage. In "Rules From The Inside," Arnold sees his entire life in front of his eyes and wonders what can be salvaged. I would have loved the organ to be "attacked" more fiercely as opposed to the tame chords we are treated to. With "Cross Out The Sampled Charts" we have come to my favourite track on the album and that's not because it's all instrumental! The slight jazzy feel of the song reminds me of Solution during their Fully Interlocking period (think "French Melodie"). Once the saxophone sets in, there's also a slight hint of the Rippingtons surfacing, yet sadly the keyboards and drums sound a bit too tame. The dark side of Arnold once again surfaces during "Your World Is Magic" when he sings "people say that times are bad, but have times ever be good?" The album closes with the jazzy, bluesy title track which, courtsey of the horn section, holds some Steely Dan influences, not such a bad direction to take for future reference.

To my ears Topical Matter Blues is the logical follow up to Isopoda's Taking Root. Sadly there's 23 years in between! Psychoanalysts however will have a field day when they start to dissect the lyrics. Ah well, can't win 'em all, Arnold! There will be a website real soon, but for the time being those who are interested in purchasing a copy can get in touch with Arnold through

Under The Stars (5:20) / After Closing Time (6:11) / Names And Faces (5:26) / Don't Talk Now (4:39) / Anyone Who Loves Me ? (4:16) / Rules From The Inside (5:28) / Cross Out The Sampled Charts (4:24) / Youth And Passion (5:06) / Your World Is Magic (6:40) / I Get A Kick From The Night (6:11) / Topical Matters Blues (5:20)

Arnold De Schepper - vocals, guitar, bass
Luc Vanhove - keyboards
Hubert Lissens - drums
Johan De Neef - keyboards
Dieter Limbourg - saxophone
Henk De Loose - trumpet
Jan De Backer - trombone

Topical Matters Blues (2002)

Genre: Rock

Origin BE

Added: September 8th 2002
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 770
Language: english


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