The Tangent - 'The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery'

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The Tangent - 'The Slow Rust Of Forgotten Machinery'

Reingold and Machin emerge as the stars of this particular show, along with the graphic novel cover artwork.

Whilst I own all of The Tangent's output, I have to be honest and say they aren't a band I'd place in the upper echelons of the Prog genre, primarily due to the less than engaging vocal stylings of the band's leader Andy Tillison. Roine Stolt was on their first two albums and thus provided variety. I always wonder how much better the songs would be if sung by a truly expressive and tuneful vocalist.

Tillison is a renowned lyricist and I'm usually impressed with this aspect, particularly the humour; however, with this album he runs the risk of alienating some people who may have opposite political and social views as he's not held back in expressing his position on a number of current topics that are clearly vexing him. He is ploughing a similar furrow to the equally opinionated and acerbic Roger Waters.

I'm far from averse to lengthy tracks but having four out of the five tracks clocking in between eleven and twenty-three minutes does seem indulgent. It would feel less so if they maintained interest throughout but there's an element that suggests they've been stretched out for the sake of it.

'Two Rope Swings' is brief by comparison and all the better for it, a delightful piano motif book-ends the number and it features strong refrains and some masterful instrumentation, notably from Jonas Reingold (bass) and Luke Machin (guitar). The instrumental 'Dr. Livingstone (I Presume)' is a highlight as it never slips into the potential quicksand of over-indulgence.

The best bits of the lengthy 'Slow Rust' are the instrumental breaks as the vocal melodies really don't resonate or possess the all-important ear-worm qualities that embed them on your brain. A pleasing feature of this track is the presence of Marie-Eve de Gaultier's vocals which serve to bolster and flesh out those of Tillison.

'The Sad Story Of Lead And Astatine' initially puts one in mind of Focus thanks to the organ refrains but it never quite gets going, a situation not helped by the presence of a drum solo. Closer 'A Few Steps Down The Wrong Road' is Tillison giving considerable vent to his feelings regarding racism which is laudable but delivered by means of a lyrical sledgehammer. Reingold and Machin emerge as the stars of this particular show, along with the graphic novel cover artwork.

Gary Marshall

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