CD Reviews

Minor Giant - 'On The Road' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 05, 2015    
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There is a perception that reviewers get music for free, however, we're still punters at heart and many reviews are of albums we've purchased; Minor Giant is just such a case. Having read about the album on my interest was sparked; I'm delighted it was because this is a very tasty Prog treat indeed. As debuts go it's pretty special.

Whilst influences are evident they never overshadow the band's own identity nor smack of riding on someone else's coat-tails. Amazingly the original music was created when Rindert Lammers (keys) was just sixteen. He posted the instrumental demos on Soundcloud and a year later he appealed for other musicians to help him to record an album. He was subsequently joined by Roy Post (drums), ex PBII bassist Harry den Hartog, Jordi Repkes (guitars & vocals) and Jos Heijmans (keys & vocals); albeit den Hartog left after the recording being replaced by Rik van Dommelen. Production is by Gerben Klazinga (Knight Area) and Colin Leijenaar (Affector, ex-Neal Morse band) and speaks volumes for the talent and quality on show that names such as these were attracted to the project.

The album consists of six tracks of between three and fifteen minutes in length each based around the loose concept of the different roads people take in life. If you're a fan of Classic Prog then I'd wager you'll be hooked and captivated, as I was, within the twelve and a half minutes of the title track which opens proceedings and encapsulates the band's sound perfectly.

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A burst of Spock's Beard/Transatlantic style piano, organ and then synths that ooze melody sets the scene superbly. A flurry of Camel-esque organ then gives way to a lovely vocal refrain that hints at Pete Nicholls (IQ). There's a quiet, plaintive mid-section where piano is to the fore then the tempo increases for the return of the original theme. Again Camel come to mind on the opening of the beautiful 'Dream With Eyes Wide Open' but the initial processed vocal delivery is pure Porcupine Tree. The piano work is a sheer delight as is the vocal arrangement. A gentle first half gives way to some more up-tempo instrumental second section which is both classy and melodic. The soloing from keyboards and guitar is outstanding and not too long or indulgent.

The piano and acoustic guitar-based 'Lead Me Home' has a touch of Moon Safari about it while 'Hand In Hand' is joyously fabulous, a microcosm of accessible Prog at its best. 'We Are Strangers Here' shows the band unafraid to keep it simple but effective while closer 'The Last Road' is epic in a SB style. Fantastic!

Gary Marshall

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