Blue Shift - Not The Future I Ordered

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Musea Records
Catalog Number: FGBG 4263.AR
Format: CD
Total Time: 43:10:00

In these days of progressive supergroups (Transatlantic, Explorer's Club, Bozzio Levin Stevens, Liquid Tension Experiment, Platypus, and so on), it's fun to imagine supergroups that might have been. For example, what would have happened if the 70s version of Yes collaborated with Keith Emerson? You might get something like Blue Shift. That's not to say that there's a lot of an EL&P sound to this group -- Blue Shift definitely owes a huge debt to Yes. However, Emerson-style keyboard flashes emerge here and there from underneath the very Yes-like instrumentation and vocals.

Speaking of the vocals, Blue Shift's singer Stewart Meredith sounds a heck of a lot like Jon Anderson, although maybe in an even higher register. He also does a very credible Robert Plant performance on the cover of the Zep classic "Immigrant Song," which gets expertly covered on this album. However, Meredith is the only vocalist in the group, which means less of a focus on harmony and counterpoint melodies than one would expect from Yes.

Also unlike 70s Yes, most songs on this album are on the shorter side, averaging around 4 1/2 minutes. However, the shorter lengths do not mean less complexity. There's a whole lot going on here in every song. For those who like longer tracks, though, two lengthier compositions clock in at almost nine minutes and at nearly eight.

As far as instrumentation goes, guitarist Joey Backenstoe sounds like what you might get if Peter Banks studied under John Petrucci. That is, the Banks sound is there, but Backenstoe frequently fires off volleys of guitar pyrotechnics that have the notes flying at machine-like speed. Apparently, Backenstoe also plays bass on the album, and he has that Chris Squire Rickenbecker vibe that's so important to the Yes sound. On the keyboard front, Mark Barton combines the styles of Tony Kaye, Rick Wakeman, and Keith Emerson into a powerful mix that yields plenty of masterful performances. Finally, drummer Steve Sklar is no slouch himself, playing a strong, but simpler, rhythm style, more like Alan White than Bill Bruford.

If you're into retro-prog -- especially 70s Yes -- you'll adore Blue Shift. In fact, all Yes fans and any lover of the classic prog sound will get a big kick out of this very listenable album.

Wide Awake And Dreaming (8:42) / Not The Future I Ordered (4:54) / Rome (7:40) / Walking On Air (4:04) / Safe Sex (4:20) / Moving Out (3:40) / Immigrant Song (2:49) / Flintridge (6:44)

Joey Backenstoe - guitars
Mark Barton - keyboards
Stewart Meredith - vocals
Steve Sklar - percussion

Not The Future I Ordered (1998)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: March 6th 2001
Reviewer: Clayton Walnum

Artist website:
Hits: 1644
Language: english


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