CD REVIEW: Neil Thomas - A Century of Lullabies
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"extremely creative & highly original"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Artist: Neil Thomas
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative - Progressive Rock
Sounds Like: Peter Gabriel, Yes, Jethro Tull, Chris DeBurgh
Technical Grade: 10/10
Winded Songs, Excessive intro & otros. Musical Meandering
UK’s own Neil Thomas releases his latest release entitled A Century of Lullabies in 2010. This is his fourth release to date
Logging in at 53 minutes the CD takes flight with Track 1 “Sister” a slow building into piece that flows & ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with it’s driving rock rhythm, hard hitting rhythm guitar, & hypnotic vocal vibe from Thomas & Company. Track 2 “Witness” is an upbeat follow up piece that serves up upbeat rock groove against easy flowing guitar rhythms & hooky vocal melodies. Track 3 “Beautiful Decay” dishes out yet another thought provoking piece of music with well placed harmonies & catchy vocal hooks from lead singer Neil Thomas. The CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 impressive songs in a row. As the CD slowly unfolds, I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of such classic UK acts like classic Saga, Jethro Tull, King Crimson, Chris De Burgh, Peter Gabriel, & perhaps a dash of classic Yes with respect to some of the vocal harmonies & dynamic writing. It definitely has the classic UK rock sound. The music itself is an impressive blend of progressive rock & alternative rock. Thomas’ voice goes down smooth & is full of passion, recklessness, vulnerability & bold honesty. The musicianship from all the session players involved is world class. Thomas brings to the table an arsenal of 11 players. Equally as impressive are some of the lush vocal harmonies, sound effects, & sonic touches layered within the music. Also present besides the 4 piece standard you will notice impressive violin, cello, mandolin, flute, xylophone, & well placed percussion & keyboard accents along the way. The songs themselves are extremely dynamic, & progressive in nature. The songwriting is extremely creative & highly original. Each song possessing a unique personality, flair & signature groove. Many of the songs have a theatrical intensity about them making for a very entertaining listening experience. I especially like how the whole CD just flows across the ears song for song & note for note - each piece interconnected with the next. From dynamic “The Ones We Adored” to striking “The True Nature of all Things” to mesmerizing “Stray or Follow” to my personal favorite “Houston we Have a Problem” to hard hitting title track this CD has something for just about everyone. I especially like the solitary moments created in songs like” Cathode Ray Light” & “Children of the Shoah.” The CD ends with “Endscape Navigator” the perfect finale statement.
It’s hard to find any noticeable weaknesses with an amazing production such as this. I would however offer up 2 items. It’s fair to say a few songs take too long to develop, with excessive intros, outros, sonic touches, sound effects, & even musical meandering. It’s fair to say all songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Of course given the nature of the genera - Progressive Rock the 2 above items get a hall pass.
Overall A Century of Lullabies by Neil Thomas is an extremely entertaining catalogue of music. It’s strong suit – the amazing amount of originality, creativity & musical diversity this CD has to offer. The production value is thick as a brick, & like the aforementioned I especially enjoyed the theatrical drama quality of the catalogue. All in all Neil Thomas stands out from other bands with its unique signature sound. Give a Brit a guitar & some free time – you’ll see what I’m talking about. Throw an substance in the mix (Legal or illegal) & you will create a musical monster 7 perhaps a Century worth of Lullabies.
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