Lee Abraham — Black & White
(Festival 200905, 2009, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2011-06-01
On this album Lee Abraham is treading a similar path as countryman Steve Thorne (see Roundtables, this issue), though overall these songs have a stronger metal quality to them, especially in the guitars. The music likewise has a certain amount of instant likeability, perhaps best exemplified by the poppy chorus of “Celebrity Status,” though as a songwriter I’d give the nod to Thorne. The album benefits from crystal clear modern production (courtesy of Karl Groom), but at the end of the day its relative success for the listener will come down to the songs. Most eschew complexity in the arrangements in favor of a straightforward approach to verse-chorus structures, though with enough instrumental and sonic development that fans of British prog groups like DeeExpus and Jadis should find much here to enjoy. Abraham shines as a multi-instrumentalist, capably covering guitars, keyboards, and bass, though he’s enlisted the aid of John Mitchell (guitar), Dean Baker (piano), and Gerald Mulligan (drums) to give the songs some additional instrumental polish. Vocals are split between Sean Filkins (Big Big Train), Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish), and Gary Chandler (Jadis), and here is where the album is most conventional. Parts of the music hint at Pink Floyd, with the proggiest moments reserved for the closing epic, “White.” Here Abraham alternates between NWOBM metal grind and Genesis’ 80s melodic tunefulness. It’s not a sound I’d guarantee every Exposé reader to enjoy, but Abraham should be proud of the effort and the results.
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more