The Tangent reveal new "mega prog" album Songs From The Hard Shoulder

The Tangent
(Image credit: The Tangent)

The Tangent mark their 20th anniversary with their 12th studio album, Songs From The Hard Shoulder, which is released on June 10 via InsideOut. And they've teased its release with an edit of opening track, The Changes, which you can stream below.

Says bandleader Andy Tillison, "The Changes was written in the depths of the first and strictest of the Covid lockdowns. During this strangest of times there was an emptiness in all of our lives and this song explores my own such feelings in that time. I began to wonder whether the band would ever meet again, and more importantly, how long it would be before I could see my family again.  

"Some of the song is focused on the minutiae of being on tour with a band... not so much missing the gigs, the stages and the playing, but missing he crazy little things like not being able to find a hotel, being lost and the general camaraderie that is all around when a band is out on the road. It’s important to say that this single edit is just five minutes of what is a 17-minute song – and this only gives a hint at what is there in the full version... which includes a standout Luke Machin guitar solo of unbelievable quality which isn’t represented in this at all...”

The five-track album follows on from 2020’s Auto Reconnaissance, and Tillison describes it as “a mega prog album with three epics over 17 minutes long and a short, Tamla Motown song. Every song is entirely different and unrelated to one another because one of my favourite things about prog rock is how often it breaks the rules. We didn’t feel the need to connect the songs together.”

Teasing the album’s other epics, Tillison adds, "there’s our longest ever instrumental, which leans on our Canterbury and Frank Zappa influences and is quite an adventure. The last one is about a homeless person I met in Leeds, which has more Nine Inch Nails and Mars Volta in it, with a lot of soundscapes. We all got really involved in the album’s construction – it’s probably the most advanced one we’ve done.”

Despite its complexity, Songs From The Hard Shoulder was recorded in Tillison’s spare bedroom. “We emptied the walk-in wardrobe to put a drum kit in,” he says, “ran some cables through and just started recording. I was never at home in big recording studios, and this was actually the quickest recording session we’ve had!”

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1.     The Changes (17:06)
2.     The GPS Vultures (17:01)
3.     The Lady Tied To The Lamp Post (20:52)
4.     Wasted Soul (4:40)
5.     In The Dead Of Night (Bonus) (16:11)

Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.

With contributions from