Grey Lady Down — Forces
(Cyclops CYCL 020, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-08-01
This is the second album for this British five-piece with a dedicated lead vocalist, whose style is firmly in the neo-progressive camp of bands like IQ and others who drive their sound with brite and happy keyboard melodies, with plenty of allusions to Collins era Genesis. If this is the kind of music that suits, then Grey Lady Down does it exceptionally well. There is enough moodiness / broodiness in their overall style, as well as pure instrumental chops to keep their music engaging and balanced. Singer Martin Wilson is your typical Gabrielfish, swimming in a sea of too many lyrics, yet the band supports him skillfully, offering a variety of rhythmic structures to keep his vocals interesting over the long haul. But where the band really shines is in their instrumental passages, where the musicians have sufficient room to stretch out without the confining presence of the vocals. Here they offer a level of musicianship and originality to rival the best of the neo bands. Of special note are the spirited guitar solos that frequently pop up from the dense blanket of omnipresent keyboards. There are a couple of banal and irritating pop tracks ("The Nail" and "I Believe") that interrupt the otherwise enjoyable program (why don't bands relegate this kind of annoying claptrap to singles and save the albums for respectable music?), but overall, this is a worthwhile release that should be of interest to many.
Related artist(s): Grey Lady Down
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