Not Twin Peaks . . .
Reviewed by Brian McGowan and released by Rock Company, December 2017.
One of Europe’s smaller but very ambitious rock labels is the appropriately titled “Rock Company”. Its prime attraction is the insider’s AOR hero, Phil Vincent, an artist who takes workaholicism to previously unreached levels.
Tragik, one of his many alter egos, is now on its seventh album release, Tainted.
The label’s other recent releases, Cryptic Nature‘s Pandor, and Still Living‘s Ymmij, will be reviewed over the next few days.
Tragik : Tainted : good to see that a sense of humour prevails in the design of yet another salacious parody of eighties’ AOR album cover art. A clever, and indeed eye catching, tongue in cheek marketing ploy.
Vincent pushes his voice to the max on opener, ‘Welcome Back’ and judging by the phased lead guitar and powerful, punchy harmony bgvs, he should be auditioning for a job with Boston (and god knows Tom Scholz’s band could do with an infusion of fresh blood).
The Nine and a half minute ‘Not Over You’ is the album’s (and indeed perhaps Vincent’s) magnum opus. Steeped in melodrama and melancholy, it’s constructed around fast moving piano chords and ELO like harmony bgvs, pulling us on to the edge of our seats. At the 3 minute mark, it suddenly sounds very European. Solid dancefloor beats pound an inviting rhythm, while Vincent stitches together a rich weave of Beatlish, processed vocals, lit up by bursts of biting axework, like Michael Learns to Rock going head to head with The Rasmus.
‘Into The Great Unknown’ follows that same semi-experimental shaping, with the sweet synchronisation of pulsing keyboards and the itchy rhythmic crunch of impatient axework being moulded into something that sounds very contemporary.
Elsewhere it’s business as usual, with plenty of solidly written songs, laced with brighter moments and slick melodic crescendos. Vincent maintains a strong hold on the soaring choruses and fluid solos, with ‘Until I See You Again’ and ‘Regrets’, two more lightning bolts of relative brilliance, being perhaps the best of the rest.
- Welcome Back
- Not Over You
- Can’t Take It Back
- Into The Great Unknown
- Face Of Sorrow
- Out Of Nowhere
- Until I See You Again
- Nobody’s There
- Harsh Reality