Thieves' Kitchen - Head

Year of Release: 2000
Label: self-released
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:56:00

When Grey Lady Down decided to call it a day [in 1997], drummer Mark Robotham got the idea to create a new band which would deliver much more complex music, something no other British band had done until now. "It was all neo-progressive [that] you could hear in Britain," says Mark, "so I started looking for the right musicians in order to get as far away from that neo-progressive idea as possible." Enter guitarist Phil Mercy, who had already released his solo album Fear Of Fantastic Flight on the Italian Mellow label, and together with some extra members of the band Stuff and the already mentioned Mark Robotham, the band was almost complete. After almost a year, the first album Head is finally with us, an album with a lot of attention for individual elements within the group concept.

Five rather long compositions are to be found on this debut, songs which have their roots in the swamp of Gentle Giant, VDGG, Happy the Man, yet with a strong contemporary feel in the rhythm section. Strong contributions from keyboard player Wolfgang Kindl who knows how to include the necessary dramatics by means of his playing. Just listen to the speed of his playing and the wonderful strings during the intro for "Time." Next to electrifying guitar riffs, "The Return Of The Ultragravy" contains some nice mellotron parts whilst the weird chords are very much in true Gentle Giant vein. As is the case with Gary Chandler, I also hear a lot of Level 42 singer Mark King in Simon Boys' voice, which means "Integrity" sort of becomes a cross between Jadis and Level 42. The absolute highlight of this album can be found at the very end of this disc by means of "T.A.N.U.S.," a song where I hear a lot of Happy the Man influences, even if the song has more of a rock approach than the often jazzy sounds of HTM. Swirling guitar solos melt together with great Hammond organ playing the scales over and over again. At one particular point, the guitar switches into fusion with some Vai and Satriani influences. The song ends with a playful musical box, a lullaby that should take us into a dreamworld.

Head contains the right amount of material to keep the brain in that little "head" of yours working late. Just the kind of thing we've always wanted!

Mute (16:01) / Time (7:15) / The Return Of The Ultragravy (11:) / Integrity (9:10) / T.A.N.U.S. (19:30)

Paul Beecham - bass, backing vocals
Wolfgang Kindl - keyboards, backing vocals
Phil Mercy - guitars, backing vocals
Simon Boys - vocals
Mark Robotham - drums

Head (2000)
Argot (2001)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

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

Artist website:
Hits: 1349
Language: english


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