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TRACK LIST: 1. Go 7:36 2. Sea Saw 7:17 3. The Cold Hard Truth 1:37 4. Time Flies Like an Arrow 13:16 5. Rain Later 2:48 6. The Viewing Point 12:19 LINEUP: Ian Fitch – guitars; dulcimer; keyboards; autoharp Karl Mallet – bass; guitars, mandolin; keyboards, vocals Steve Mann – keyboards Simon Green – drums
Prolusion. THE FUTURE KINGS OF ENGLAND is, unsurprisingly, an English band. They first appeared on the musical scene with their self-titled debut effort in 2005. This was followed by "The Fate of Old Mother Orvis" in 2007. Two years on the band's third installment is released, named "The Viewing Point".
Analysis. The Future Kings of England have established themselves as high class creators of psychedelic progressive rock in the five or so years of the band's existence. While not exactly exploring uncharted musical territories, their navigations within known stylistic territories have been of excellent quality. Many will have great expectations of this latest venture from the band. And while TFKOE takes a few steps away from the musical elements explored on their last album, the band members remain within familiar territories, and I think it is safe to claim that those who enjoyed their previous two efforts should find this latest venture to be just as intriguing. A striking feature of this album that will easily be recognized is that the mix and production take their cues from the '70s, even more so than on past occasions. Rich, layered keyboards in the shape of organ, mellotron and vintage synths are dominating traits of the compositions, while laid-back, steady patterns are served by drums and bass. Gentle, undistorted guitar themes are the final ingredient on this band's musical palette, with a few select visits to musical territories featuring harder guitar riffs. Laid-back, pleasant and dreamy sequences make up the majority of this disc though, in a first half of the '70s Pink Floyd kind of manner. Not dreamy as in new age related or anything like that though, but in a minor psychedelic kind of way, with touches of space rock provided by searching, drawn-out guitar patterns and richly layered keyboards that are a more or less constant backdrop. Apart from this it's worth mentioning that "The Viewing Point" is a concept album and that it is an instrumental effort. The concept story is written down on the CD cover and does add to the musical experience.
Conclusion. Gentle, psychedelic rock with some space rock elements and a few harder-tinged edges makes up this latest release from The Future Kings of England, and the end result is an effort that should hit home with the band's existing fan base as well as those who appreciate the gentler efforts of Pink Floyd in the years prior to their commercial breakthrough. A classy outing from start to finish, for those who enjoy '70s art rock of this particular variety.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 17, 2010
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