Down And Out In London And Paris, is the latest release by The Tangent. (The album has nothing to do with the novel by George Orwell, other than the title.) The mastermind behind this band is, Andy Tillison (multi-instruments/ lead vocals). Sadly some aren’t keen on Andy’s vocals. (to Andy: don’t listen to them). As usual, it’s those pesky internet ’prog-snobs’ but I actually found his vocals quite refreshing since every other singer seems to want to be Gabriel, Collin, Anderson (both)
There has been yet again a line-up change. This is not the union with Beardfish as earlier reported. This time the band is 100% English! Those musicians are Paul Burgess (drums), Jonathan Barrett (bass), and joining from the previous albums are Guy Manning (guitars) and Theo Travis (Sax/flute). Also special guest musician, Jakko M Jakszyk (lead guitar on one track*). Jonathon played with Andy in PO90 previously. Paul has been in bands like 10cc, Jethro Tull and Combination Head.
Just as previous albums, there’s epics on the album. In fact, it starts off with “Where Are They Now?”, a 19 minute epic which is quite a complex start for the album. It deals with characters they have sung about on the last four albums. This is the best openers sine the debut.
Next up is a song that starts off sounding a little like Andy’s other band, PO90 called
“Paroxetine 20mg’” which looks at life through the eyes of someone on prescription drugs who feels rather empty. This is followed up by “Perdu Dans Paris” which translates to ‘Lost In Paris’. According to The Tangent’s website, this song was inspired by some saddening scenes Andy saw from his hotel room a press conference in 2008.
There’s another of the tracks that has a slight leaning towards PO90 called “The Company Car” , actually it’s almost like a middle ground of both The Tangent & PO90 in my opinion. Closing the album is another song that revisits their past and a sequel to The Canterbury Sequence called “ ‘Ethanol Hat Nail’”. This is possibly the most complex song they’ve ever done. It’s got Canterbury, space-rock and jazz plus progressive rock all rolled into one.
There’s a special edition of this album which contains a bonus track called “Everyman’s Forgotten Monday starts out similar to Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. I’m glad I had a chance to hear this song since promos usually never include bonus material.
If you’re already a fan of The Tangent than picking up ‘Down And Out In Paris And London’ is a no-brainer. Others that may like it would be fans of the melodic yet complex progressive rock that takes the past and adds to it a fresher sound. This album is highly recommended and destined to be one of my top 20 favorite albums of 2009.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on October 31st, 2009