Lens, The - A Word In Your Eye

Year of Release: 2002
Label: GEP
Catalog Number: GEPCD1031
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:04:00

The story has been told and brought to reality a million times. Someone goes up into the dusty attic to clean up the century-old cobwebs and the accumulated piles of dust that are as close to an inhabitant as there is ever going to be there, and suddenly stumbles upon a box full of old pictures, toys, costumes, S&M gear, or what have you. Nostalgia, it is called. And its effects are of such magnitude that one can spend the entire day reminiscing about the past (ever hear the phrase, "they don't make them like they used to?"), or even dreaming up ways in which to bring it back. And so it is that IQ members Mike Holmes and Martin Orford have stumbled upon their very own box, which upon further inspection reads something like "The Lens."

For those still wondering what the hell I'm trying to get at, and making a long story short, The Lens was a pre-IQ band in which both Holmes and Orford shared principal writing duties. And some twenty years after that formative act had been paralyzed by several internal ruptures and untimely impediments to the point that its members had decided to call it quits, these two musicians have decided to record a number of The Lens selections and thus let the skeletons right out of the closet. The result? Well, it says somewhere on the booklet that this is a link between the old and new schools of progressive rock, and there's really no point in disagreeing with that statement.

As for the quality of the link, well, A Word In Your Eye is, concisely put, a hit-or-miss affair. Not altogether surprising when one considers that the material contained therein is in a way documentation of Orford and Holmes' evolution as progressive songwriters experimenting with different possibilities, and certainly interesting when one looks at it from that historical perspective, but the end effect nonetheless is a collection of instrumentals that works really well sometimes and just flops at others. It is thus that one will be getting into the dreamy and upbeat sonic waves of "Sleep Until You Wake" and the gorgeous medieval flute-led gentility of "On Stephen's Castle Down," and then be turned off by the honestly awful elevator jazz of "Childhood's End." Particularly interesting, however, is the fact that Orford's gorgeously lush synths and Holmes' gliding guitar subtlety and effective bass lines never quite disappear from the fore, thus giving the entire record a uniting sense of continuity.

And before anyone goes into a fit of madness while waiting for me to answer their impertinent question: yes, early IQ is a valid reference point for several of the tracks found on A Word In Your Eye. And in fact that is what finally makes the record gel despite the fact that some of its pieces seem to veer away from the mainline while aptly documenting what this couple of musicians were coming up with in their early progressive years, as do the floating and spacey atmospherics of "Shafts Of Light" and "From The Sublime," tracks that would fit quite better into a space rock record (guess what kind music The Lens wrote initially). But it is plush instrumentation coupled with subtle sensibility, the sudden appearance of engaging heavy passages, and the contrast between heartfelt melancholy and jaunty cheerfulness what in the end really characterizes The Lens, odd track or two notwithstanding. Not miles away removed from IQ ("Choosing A Farmer (Part 3)" actually shares several traits with a certain early IQ song), A Word In Your Eye is an excellent look into the formative years of this wonderful British unit and the misses, successes, and excesses that they represented.

Similar artists: IQ, Camel, Genesis

Sleep Until You Wake (7:11) / Choosing A Farmer (Part 1) (8:10) / On Stephen's Castle Down (2:27) / Shafts Of Light (2:52) / Childhood's End (5:51) / Frost And Fire (6:27) / Of Tide And Change (8:56) / From The Sublime (6:38) / Choosing A Farmer (Part 3) (5:32)

Michael Holmes - guitar, bass, keyboards
Martin Orford - keyboards, flute, vocals

Additional musicians:

Paul Cook - drums Tony Wright - saxophone

A Word In Your Eye (2002)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: April 21st 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.gep.co.uk
Hits: 638
Language: english


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