Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Lands End ~ The Lower Depths

Lands End ~ The Lower Depths

I wanted to post about this album as hardly anyone has reviewed this apart from DPRP as far as I can tell. Lands End are an American prog group who have been around for a few years but been quiet of late. In fact the band are in essence no more. The project is now mainly the work of keyboardist Fred Hunter with contributions for what were members of the band, like vocalist Jeff McFarland and drummer Mark Lavallee and other guests artists.

Lands End’s music is very symphonic. Lots of Pink Floyd type soundscapes, circa “Wish You Were Here”. There are lots of aquatic references in their albums and their sound can be described as very oceanic. They have produced three main studio albums, plus a live album and compilation of older material. Signed to the excellent British Cyclops label, it has taken Fred Hunter around 4 years or so to compile this latest album. Without doubt it is their best and that is mostly down to two tracks, “Digital Signatures” and “A New World Order”. Both are epic in length, the first around 14 minutes, the latter clocking in at just over 24 minutes. What distinguishes these tracks is the inspired choice for vocalist. Fred has employed vocalist Cathy Alexander on both these tracks. She is singer with The Morrigan, a band I have not heard of, but appear to be a folk-prog type of band. All I know is that Cathy has an excellent voice, very powerful and emotive and is stunning on those two tracks. Fred has really pulled out all the stops on these compositions and they are truly excellent and stand out head and shoulders over the rest of the album. Those in themselves are pretty good, with Bruce Soord from Pineapple Thief appearing on a couple. But it’s those two epics that really make this the best Lands End album and one of the best for the year! One final comment. I prefer the originally planned black and white cover over the blue one actually used for the final CD. Just a small point.


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