Wednesday, June 1, 2016

RED BAZAR: "Tales from the Bookcase"

Rating: RRRR
Label: WhiteKnightRecords 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Tales from the Bookcase and its lyrical content is based on stories from singer Peter Jones' favorite classic books. It's seems to be everything from fantasy to war stories and the result is symphonic progressive rock in the vein of Genesis and Marillion. This is in fact the debut (including vocals) album by Nottingham, U.K. based five piece band Red Bazar. However, the four of Andy Wilson (guitar), Mark Wilson (bass), Gary Marsh (keyboards), Paul Comerie (drums) have previously existed as an instrumental outfit, recording two albums and the EP. By the way. You may also recognize singer Jones from performances with Big Big Train and Magneta and his own solo albums.

This being their first step into the vocal spotlight and even though the Prog ground they inhabit has been well trodden down before, the Tales are well written and performed. There is a great deal of Genesis moments here, especially on "City and the Stars", where the song describes "the bitter harvest from the seeds we've sown" and "our every move and thought tracked by cameras in the sky". It's all very 1984 and a certain old classic of the past. Melodic passages, lovely harmonies, smashing keyboards 'ala Tony Banks, and a selection of different views from within the prog community, are cornerstones of Red Bazar's record.

It reeks of old school U.K. and their grand tradition of coming up with music that matter and not just something that goes through the motion. The vocal phrasing is typical British and the modern production add a touch of class. Final verdict: Successful in terms of spreading the propaganda, getting their message through and communicating the ideas of symphonic Progressive Rock, Tales from the Bookcase goes straight to the top of impressive debuts in 2016.

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