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(55:42; Comedy of Errors)
Back in 2014 I stopped all reviewing to start collating 15 years of reviews into a book, which seemed like a good idea at the time! Not only did it take far longer than I ever imagined getting everything collated, but it meant that when I started reviewing again I had a massive backlog which still lasts to this day. However, I have vowed that whatever it takes I will get through them all, which is why I am now listening to an album which came out all the way back in 2015. Whenever I think of Comedy of Errors, I get a clear memory in my mind of being in the car with Mark Colton (Credo) who at one point seemed unable to drive anywhere unless we were listening to “The Student Prince Part One”. By this time in the early 90’s the band had already broken up, and no-one believed they would ever play again, but in 2011 two of the founder members, Joe Cairney (vocals) and Jim Johnston (keyboards) got back together with Mark Spalding (bass, guitars) who had been there since the early days, and with new drummer Bruce Levick released ‘Disobey’. Bassist John Fitzgerald came in the fold to play one track on follow-up ‘Fanfare & Fantasy’, and by the time of this release in 2015 they had added an additional guitarist in Sam McCulloch, taking them up to a six-piece. Keyboard player Johnston is the person responsible for penning this album, which comprises one 45-minute long epic and a six-minute “Epilogue”, and it is a work of complexity and over the top elements which takes neo-prog in a whole new direction. Take the subsection “In Darkness Let Me Dwell” for example, which not only has a complex time signature and crunching guitars but moves deeply into symphonic and Yes territory while also bringing in choral elements which sound as if they have come straight from a classical piece. One just has no idea whatsoever where this music is going to lead as it is never content to stay in one area for too long, with every musician having the opportunity to take lead roles, and never sit too long in the background. There is no surprise that they have brought in another guitarist as there is just far too much interweaving and straightforward rock for this ever to be played live with just one. There are plenty of progheads who unfortunately agree with the media and many critics that any prog released after the 70’s has no worth as is not to the same standard (earlier on FB someone said to me “If I spend an hour listening to a new prog group, that is an hour not listening to Relayer or Selling England by the Pound or Larks Tongue …”), but this is one of those albums which can be pointed towards and the cynic told to go and listen to it with an open mind. It is immediate, yet grows even more when it is listened to repeatedly, and yet again Comedy of Errors have released an album which is simply wonderful in every manner. That it has sat on my “to do” list has way more to do with my seeming inability to ever catch up no matter how much I write, and nothing to at all to do with the music itself as this is simply essential.
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