Fireworks

Days Between Stations - 'In Extremis' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/5b/d9/35/Days-Between-Stations-In-Extremis-86-1392747203.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 18, 2014    
 
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Yet another Prog highlight.

This is Days Between Stations' second album, following 2007s all instrumental debut. They consists of keyboard player Oscar Fuentes Bills and guitarist Sepand Samzadeh who've managed to enlist some serious guests (including Paul Whitehead, noted for his early Genesis covers) to help them create a very fine album. The illustrious guest list includes Colin Moulding (XTC) on vocals, Rick Wakeman, the late Peter Banks, Tony Levin, Billy Sherwood (surprisingly providing drums as well as vocals), the latter two appearing on almost every track and their contributions are sensational.

'No Cause for Alarm' opens like a fanfare and then develops into a pleasing instrumental that provides plenty of interest throughout its four-minute duration. 'In Utero' is a restrained guitar-led instrumental which has a bit of Pink Floyd about it. I can imagine this being used in a TV documentary over a film of birds in slow motion. The use of trumpet gives it a slight jazzy feel.

'Blackfoot' demonstrates that Sherwood is no mean drummer and even the programmed drums on 'Visionary' is so good you can barely tell they're not real while It makes me think of a less eclectic Frost*, in part due to a familiar piano sound. 'The Man Who Died Two Times' features Moulding on lead vocals and Sherwood backing him. I can't get Jeff Cannata/Arc Angel out of my head, particularly on the chorus. This track brings some pop sensibilities into play, giving relief from the Proginess thus far; that's not to say this is impenetrable Prog, far from it. They know a good tune and how not to spoil it.

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'Eggshell Man' has a Gabriel era Genesis/Steve Hackett feel in its early stages with vocals that evoke Moon Safari crossed with Big Big Train. Banks and Wakeman appear on this track and it's a fitting epitaph for Banks whose guitar work is delightful. At 11 minutes the track gets room to breathe, ebb, flow and develop, which it does beautifully. The section where the acoustic guitar gets progressive faster is a little distracting but Sherwood's drums and Wakeman's Moog solo come to the rescue and are both delightful in their own way.

The title track is a twenty-minute epic, split into six pieces. Like the luminaries of the genre these guys know how to maintain interest as they weave themes and styles to great effect, although those with a short attention span might want it to build quicker. Serious Prog fans will lap up its twists and turns.

This album almost passed me by; I'm glad it didn't as it's yet another Prog highlight in a year when the genre has produced a number of gems.

Gary Marshall

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