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(52 min, 'Beard of Stars')
TRACK LIST: 1. Running Around 4:55 2. Colours & Lights 2:14 3. Top Of The Mountain 6:46 4. Hey Mistery 5:10 5. Under The Moonlight 3:28 6. She Passes By 5:53 7. Freeway 4:15 8. Flowers On My Grave 5:49 9. Tarantula 2:27 10. Kites 5:40 11. Such A Slow Way Home 2:28 12. Will You Think Of Me 3:02 All tracks: by Instant Flight. Produced by Instant Flight. LINEUP: Marco Magnani - lead vocals; guitars Lucie Rejchrtova - keyboards, accordion; vocals James Ovens - drums Andrew Browning - bass
Prolusion. INSTANT FLIGHT is a 4-piece band based in the UK, with a psychedelic pop-rock sound and a multinational lineup (Italian-Czech-Brit). The band consists of guitar, keyboard, bass, drums and vocals. "Colours & Lights" is the band's first full-fledged CD project, though they released an EP in 2001.
Analysis. "Colours & Lights" is a joyous romp in something that might be called neo-psychedelic-pop-rock. The songs are relatively short overall, with the entire album clocking in at well under 60 minutes for a dozen songs. The sound is quite upbeat, strongly flavored by the early progressive-psychedelic bands from the mid to late 60s, like ("Sergeant Pepper" era) Beatles, Moody Blues, Procol Harum and even a dash of Strawberry Alarm Clock. The CD cover image is a painting by Marco Magnani, inspired by a favorite iconic scene from the psychedelic 60s, the tea party from Lewis Carrol's "Alice in Wonderland," in this case with the March Hare at table, opposite a guitar-playing, Mad Hatter. I believe this CD is better discussed as a whole, rather than dissecting the album song by song. The songs are well crafted and melody driven. Marco sings most of the lead vocals, with Lucie providing harmonies in the truest sense of the term "background" vocal, sounding many yards behind Marco. Marco's voice is pleasant and familiar, reminding me of someone, yet not just like anyone. My best description of his voice is a blend of Justin Hayward and John Lennon, very well suited to the band's music. The instrumentation shifts from song to song, pairing acoustic guitar with Fender Rhodes-like electric piano; growling B3 with fuzzed electric guitar as need be, with Mellotron and various organ sounds, yet the overall effect remains relatively consistent, maintaining a solid identity from beginning to end. Tarantula is the only instrumental track on the album and rocks a bit harder and more in a classic Prog vein with the keyboards tripping along in triplets, sounding more like 6/8 than 4/4, and the guitar sounding like bagpipes. Her Mystery goes from pipe organ to solo trombone part (courtesy of John Harbourne) and then wah-wah guitar before the vocal begins, to give an idea of how diverse the orchestration can be within songs. The biggest change in sound is when Arthur Brown sings as guest vocalist on Kites. His delivery is flamboyantly dramatic and heavy with vibrato, in contrast to Marco's much smoother and lighter delivery. The only other change in the vocals is when Lucie trades places with Marco and comes forward to sing lead, with Marco providing the harmonies on the final track, Will You Think of Me. Accompanied by piano, acoustic guitar and glockenspiel and even some synth strings, this song closes the album sweetly, bearing a strong resemblance to I Think of You by Annie Haslam & Renaissance.
Conclusion. This is a strong first album and very enjoyable overall. Do not expect lengthy epics, as there are none. The adventure here is in a fresh approach to a retro sound that emulates the many bands that have preceded them without Instant Flight becoming mere imitators. Their music is fresh. I recommend this to any listener who still loves the psychedelic era of the mid to late 60s, the forerunners of symphonic Prog. Although various distinctive ingredients can be detected in this musical brew, the recipe belongs to Instant Flight and the flavor is delightful.
KW: June 20, 2005
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