Jadis - Understand

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Jadismusic
Catalog Number: JAD 004
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:09:00

Jadis - it simply isn't happening for this band. Strangely enough they keep on releasing fine albums, yet time and time again I find myself going back to the band's first two CD's More Than Meets The Eye and Across The Water, which certainly is no good sign. Apparently the same feeling has to be with the band as well because during live concerts no less than 70% of their material is taken from the first two albums. Maybe we have to find the explanation in the bass and keyboard section because for their latest effort Understand both John Jowitt (IQ, Dirtbox, ex-Arena) and Martin Orford (IQ) come back to the fold.

Personally I have never been a fan of the previous bass player, Steve Hunt, because he was too funky and too pushy for my likes, whilst keyboard player Mike Torr wasn't prominent enough. So once again Jadis is the line-up we all like best, yet with a very predictable Stephen Christey [on drums] who reminds us more of Alan White than of Bill Bruford, if you get my drift. Opening track "Where In The World" has a strong chorus, nice harmonies and is exactly the kind of song you want to hear more of. The leading role of guitarist/singer/leader Gary Chandler offers us a very recognizable sound which sometimes reminds me of some of the highlights of Steve Hackett's career, especially from his Spectral Mornings period. "Is This Real" has a nice build up and has mainly an acoustic sound. "Alive Inside" is a little too repetitive to keep the interest throughout. The repeating of certain themes is something that returns several times, something I haven't noticed on previous Jadis albums. Just take the intro for "Between Here & There" where the guitar keeps on repeating the same line over and over again. I wouldn't mind if a swirling Hammond organ would disturb the peace here, yet Orford's interventions are rather limited (in the mix?). "Racing Sideways" is a little bit spacey and nicely flows into what I feel is one of the better tracks on the album: "Understand." In this floating dreamworld a lot of Yes elements shine through, which is probably due to the inclusion of some nice acoustic guitar. However when Gary starts singing I can't help thinking of Level 42 singer Mark King. The strongest song on this album certainly has to be "Counting All The Seconds" where Gary is knitting one guitar solo after the other.

Understand is not a bad album yet it doesn't reach the same heights as the earlier albums, which is something that shouldn't happen with a band like Jadis. Maybe this album was written without Martin and John so they just stepped in as sort of session musicians. Why not get all four in the studio next time around and start writing new material together? The talent is there now all we need is that breakthrough album.

Where In The World (5:53) / Is This Real (6:54) / Alive Inside (4:51) / Between Here & There (2:56) / Racing Sideways (4:43) / Understand (6:43) / Giraffe Chariot (5:09) / Counting All The Seconds (7:00)

Gary Chandler - guitar, vocals
Steve Christey - drums
Martin Orford - keyboards, backing vocals
John Jowitt - bass

More Than Meets The Eye (1992)
Once Upon A Time (EP) (1993)
Across The Water (1994)
No Sacrifice (EP) (1994)
Once Or Twice (EP) 1996)
Somersault (1997)
As Daylight Fades (1998)
Understand (2000)
Medium Rare (2001)
Alive Outside (2001)
Fanatic (2003)
More Than Meets The Eye -Special Edition (2005)
Photoplay (2006)
See Right Through You (2012)
No Fear Of Looking Down (2016)
More Than Meets The Eye - 25th Anniversary Edition (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: March 1st 2000
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.jadismusic.com
Hits: 1228
Language: english


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