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(73:18, ‘Frank Flight Band’)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Ballad of Alice Grey 7:52 2. Dark Waters 9:36 3. Remains 9:08 4. The Island 5:00 5. Razor Glass 12:50 6. Sinaloa 8:30 7. Cat 20:22 LINEUP: Frank Flight – guitars; vocals Alex Kenny – guitars; vocals Danny Taylor – bass; vocals Dave Veres – drums Andy Wrigley – vocals Michael Woodward – keyboards; vocals
Prolusion. The UK band FRANK FLIGHT BAND started out back in the second half of the 1990's, the initial incarnation of the band recording an albums worth of material that never was released at the time and then disbanded, if I read their history correctly. Then in 2009 these recordings were released, and a new version of the band came to existence as well, with two more albums of material recorded by this second incarnation of the band following suit. "Remains" is the most recent of these, and was self-released by the band in the summer of
Analysis. When reading through the band's self-description I kind of expected their album to be something rather different than what it actually turned out to be, at least in terms of the associations I got when listening to this CD. Psychedelic rock and blues are the stated genre descriptions used by the band, which isn't actually wrong as such, but might perhaps give some people erroneous associations. Then again, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this is a band that has explored a sound much closer to what you'd expect on their earlier productions, as I get a strong impression of a band with a lot of diversity in their repertoire. Still, as far as "Remains" goes, this disc opens with The Ballad of Alice Grey. A curious composition that alternates between a fairly purebred blues oriented expression and a rather elegant construction that arguably may be described as symphonic progressive rock, or at least with an expression that is inspired by music of that kind. It is a blend of details I can't recall encountering before, although I suspect that material of that kind was much more common back when I was still a child in the 1970's. The following composition Dark Waters is a rather different kettle of fish, with more of a blues base, careful psychedelic details and a style and delivery that gave me strong associations to bands like Allman Brothers Band and Molly Hatchett. Southern rock with a psychedelic touch, alongside some occasional subtle details reminding me ever so slightly of The Doors. When title track Remains unfolds, as well as The Island and Razor Glass, again it's with a distinct blues base, but now the mood and atmosphere are darker. Keyboards are more extensively utilized throughout, the guitar soloing, alongside the guitars in general as well as the overall arrangements, has much more of a Pink Floyd sound to them. Arguably due to the guitar soloing first and foremost, but these three tracks come with strong and distinct associations towards this highly influential band, at least to this set of ears. With Sinaloa and the 20 minute epic length concluding creation Cat, Frank Flight Band once again takes on a lighter toned, elegant and possibly southern rock inspired expression as I experience these songs. Light toned, elegant guitar soloing with an improvisational sounding touch with only careful piano or keyboards backing, with some more dominant organ details at times admittedly, and while my associations go towards the aforementioned Allman Brothers Band again I wouldn't be at all surprised if Welsh act Man is a band Frank Flight and his fellow musicians are rather familiar with as well. I seem to recall that they had some of the same elegant, light toned blues based sound combined with a subtle psychedelic expression back in the day. I'll also note that this is a band with a classy vocalist in Andy Wrigley, although his voice may be better suited to purebred blues than the music explored here, and that the other musicians are of high quality too. This is a band that gives a strong impression of being highly aware of what they are doing, and eager to do it as well as they can. Most bands would possibly subscribe to that description I guess, but there's a nerve and vitality at hand here that I can't really pinpoint that does give this disc a rather distinct spirit.
Conclusion. Frank Flight Band has made an impressive album with "Remains". Perhaps not the most purebred of progressive rock productions around, but then again it's not that often I encounter an album where I'd stipulate that people who like Allman Brothers Band, Man and Pink Floyd to be a likely key audience. A well made production by a band that does indeed deserve more attention than they have been subjected to so far.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: May 16, 2014
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