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Lifesigns - 'Cardington' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/c5/7e/03/lifesigns-cardington-29-1522952593.jpg Hot

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Simply put, Prog fans will revel in this album.

It's been four years since the band's eponymous debut and given the nature of the business these days, they resorted to crowdfunding their second effort and the campaign was very successful, hitting their target inside forty-eight hours.

Guitarist Niko Tsonev has stepped down from the group since their 'Live Under The Bridge' release, on which several of these tracks were aired, but he still features here albeit guest guitarists Dave Bainbridge, Menno Gootjes and Robin Boult had to be employed to complete the album, but that's not detrimental to the continuity as John Young's keyboards are the predominant instruments.

It would be too easy to simply label this as Neo-Prog because it's more varied than that and crosses various boundaries. Opening number 'N' starts with a Frost*-like synth refrain, but across its ten plus minutes it passes through different moods, each of which is wonderfully melodic and captivating. Bainbridge's solos are terrific, Jon Poole's resonant bass is none too shabby either and Frosty Beedle shows what a great drummer he is.

'Voice In My Head' has a wonderful shuffle beat and a fine vocal arrangement. This time Gootjes provides the incisive solos. 'Chasing Rainbows' begins in sparse fashion but builds, the guitar work and little accentuations are subtle but oh so effective, giving the arrangement top marks.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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'Different' has some lovely piano work from Young whose lyrics are also terrific. It's a track chock full of melody plus peaks and troughs of power. 'Impossible' has Pop credentials; it puts me in mind of Train and Maroon 5 in places. The knack of producing great hooks and refrains is once again evident, while the guitar solo duties are split between Bainbridge and Gootjes.

'Touch' is one of the shorter tracks, it has keyboards to the fore but where the bass is also front and centre. Its lengthy outro is a rip-roaring affair. The album closes with the epic title track, the name of which is the site of the hangers where the ill-fated R101 Airship was based. The tumbling refrain of the piano and acoustic guitar set an initially brisk platform before the song goes into a melancholy phase from where layers are added before it ebbs once more. In terms of grandeur and scale, if not style, I can't help but think of Big Big Train as a comparison.

Simply put, Prog fans will revel in this album.

Gary Marshall

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