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Thursday 31 January 2019

Reviews: Tara Lynch, Cats In Space, Quantum Pig, Lugnet

Tara Lynch: Evil Enough (Cargo Records UK)

Multi-Instrumentalist/songwriter/vocalist has got a pretty high level of technical ability she studied with Steve Vai, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater, Black Country Communion), among others, however she maintains that her songwriting relies primarily on inspiration and instinct. This album has her displaying her talents across 10 classic metal anthems, nicknamed Gui-Tara her six string mastery is on full display on the instrumental Gui-tara Rises where she has incredible levels of virtuosity, however this not an album of showing off, Lynch has written songs that are accessible by all fans of heavy metal, the songs here are both melodic and heavy with huge choruses on Unbreakable and thundering riffs throughout especially Antidote, using her guitar skills to play catchy metal anthems where she also lets her bluesy vocals add some soul to the songs.

Lynch also has an all star cast contributing to the record, on drums is Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) and Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper), handling bass is Bj√∂rn Englen (Dio Disciples, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol), Tony MacAlpine has keys (not guitars oddly) along with producer Brent Woods and vocally Mark Boals (Dokken, Yngwie Malmsteen) adds his powerhouse screams to Trustless. It's a bloody good album this, not reinventing the wheel by any stretch but for classic metal fans it'll hit many spots, Gui-Tara will be supporting UFO on their final UK tour later this year so I suggest you head down early! 8/10

Cats In Space: Daytrip To Narnia (Cargo Records)

Third album from the UK's purveyors of sickly sweet, epic power pop/AOR can be viewed as a tribute to the wondrous 1970's, a time period that Cats In Space have firmly rooted themselves in since their inception. Daytrip To Narnia is set out like a 70's long player and has all the trademarks of rock music from that era. Musically they try to sound as authentic as possible as the clever lyricism deals with tribute bands on the overblown Queen-ness of Tragic Alter Ego, the reasoning behind just because you can do something doesn't mean you should, on the glam stomp of Hologram Man. They also have a massive dose of ELO on Narnia some odd off the wall numbers like She Talks To Much which does sound a lot like Supertramp in it's composition, they've also got the obligatory ballad called Chasing Diamonds a track that should carry a health warning for sweetness.

Then comes the ingenious part of this album at track 8 we get the first song in what then becomes a 22 minute space travelling conceptual suite which in old money would take up side 2 of a vinyl record, the B Side if you will and it enables the band to stretch their prog muscles moving between epic rock into disco(?!), Lloyd Webber and everything in between. At times a bouncing pop rock record at others an off the wall journey through rocks outer reaches, the most expansive record the band has made so far and one that will be conquer the radio waves for sure! 8/10

Quantum Pig: Songs Of Industry And Sunshine (White Star Records)

Another record from the denizens of modern prog rock White Star Records, London duo Quantum Pig are a little more politically aware, a bit more uncompromising and a bit more punk than many of their labelmates. However their sound is one of propulsive, synth driven, progressive rock music that doesn't run away with itself but deals with "cultural and philosophical influences" meaning that this debut album deals with a "stark, relevant and thought-provoking message." Opening with the two most recent singles Statement Of Intent is that paring shimmering synths with intelligent defiant lyricism, while Citizen & State is a bouncing rocker that swings it way into the epic Long Letter Home which has a dense beautiful soundscape. 

The two members of this band Ian Faragher and Mark Stevenson, share vocals and play the guitar, bass and keys with session musicians adding a rhythm section and more guitar. According to the press blurb the band are influenced by Queen, Husker Du, which appears the punchy Things and most importantly Carl Sagan whose ideas are explored on Long Letter Home the entire album actually deals with the idea of futurism due in-part to Mark Stevenson's double life as an author, public speaker and 'reluctant' futurist. Music that deals with some very big ideas, in a way that has down to earth, straight talking optimism against a very downcast future. A clever and interesting listen Quantum Pig have really tested the 'prog' tag on this record! 8/10

Lugnet: Nightwalker (Pride & Joy Music)

Swedes Lugnet exemplify the grittiness of 70's rock but on this sophomore effort they have really laid on the dirt, much of this is due to their new singer Johan Fahlberg of Jaded Heart, who like his predecessor comes from the school of Ian Gillan screaming but has much more of a snarl so on he dirty grooves of Never Again they can make the sort of music you hear in a Saturday night grindhouse double feature, filthy riffs are bolstered by expressive rhythms that make you want to slap on a leather jacket and prowl the streets at night while the Hendrix inspired Death Laughs At You creeps in the background. There's a lack of organs like there was on the debut but that doesn't really matter too much it just means these songs are leaner and a bit nastier. This is nothing like Jaded Heart (sighs of relief) it's scuzzier, 70's influenced hard rock made for bandanas and bikes. 7/10

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