The Tangent are a new name to me but are not a new band. They’ve been around for a decade now and this is their seventh album, so they certainly don't appear to be short of ideas. They deal in what I can only describe as retro, 70s’ style prog rock but with a modern twist that incorporates jazz, blues and, on this new album, a huge dose of classical music as well. 'Le Sacre Du Travail' is a full concept album that reaches out to every single one of us, being the story of an average working day and how the human race choose to live. And, at over 70 minutes, it hasn't been an easy one to digest quickly, taking multiple listens to let the music sink in and tell its story. It has been worth the extra time and perseverance, though, because once it 'clicks', what you are presented with is a top class progressive album, albeit one that will now only grace my stereo when the mood grabs me.
If you need comparisons or influences then there are many. Emerson Lake & Powell, Roger Waters, Barclay James Harvest, Genesis, IQ, Yes, Marillion (Fish and Hogarth eras), Camel, Hawkwind, Gentle Giant, even The Police and there is a huge debt of gratitude to Deep Purple's 'Concerto For Group and Orchestra’ and some of Jon Lord's other solo work as well. This is a diverse and multi-faceted album with the main songs split into five movements, the shortest of which is just over three minutes and the longest a whopping twenty-two minutes. It really has to be played in one go to appreciate it fully, although my favourite piece is the IQ and Marillion sounding 'Fifth Movement: Evening TV', which is very upbeat and precisely fits the mood of someone who has arrived home after a long day’s work and wants, just for a few hours, to escape the boredom.
Andy Tillison (keyboards, vocals), the driving force behind The Tangent, has managed brilliantly to musically recreate the ups and downs of your average day, along with some fabulous lyrics, and he should be complimented on successfully translating what could be seen as a somewhat boring subject into something enjoyable. He is joined by Jonas Reingold (The Flower Kings, Karmakanic) on bass, Jakko M Jakszyk (King Crimson, Level 42) on guitar and vocals, Theo Travis (Steve Wilson Band, Soft Machine) on wind instruments, Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) on drums and David Longdon (Big Big Train) on vocal harmonies, so as you can see we aren't talking about a bunch of amateurs here! Special guests include Rikard Sjöblom (Beardfish, ex-The Tangent) on narration and the fabulous Guy Manning on acoustic guitars. Production is of great quality and everything has a mature and calming edge to it.
My version of the album also contains three bonus tracks, the beautiful 'Muffled Epiphany', 'Evening TV (Radio Edit)' and the punk flavoured and tongue in cheek 'Hat (Live At Mexborough School 1979)', which apparently is a reminder of the musical direction Andy Tillison dabbled in when he first started song writing. If your love is prog rock then you really cannot go wrong with this album and, as usual, I would urge those of you that have more open minded and diverse tastes to give 'Le Sacre Du Travail' a fair crack of the whip. This is an album with passion, it tells a great story and really deserves to be heard.
LE SACRE DU TRAVAIL
Review by Rick Tilley
24th June 2013
1) 1st Movement: Coming Up On The Hour
2) 2nd Movement: Morning Journey & The Arrival
3) 3rd Movement: Afternoon Malaise
4) 4th Movement: A Voyage Through Rush Hour
5) 5th Movement: Evening TV
6) Muffled Epiphany
7) Hat (Live at Mexborough School 1979)
8) Evening TV (Radion Edit)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"This is an album with passion, it tells a great story and really deserves to be heard."