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Cathédrale - J2=B2 album review

Save a prayer for the missing link between Renaissance and Lifesigns

With their extravagantly blow-dried, highlighted bouffant hairdos, it isn’t very hard to guess that Cathédrale were a band from the 1980s. The music – airy, lightweight, super-polite pop rock with musician-friendly airs and graces – serves only to confirm this theory. What’s rather more shocking to note is the presence of two prog staples in the group’s midst – step forwards ex-Renaissance bass player Jon Camp and current Lifesigns keyboard maestro John Young, both looking suitably moody on the front cover. Previously unreleased until now, these 12 songs date back to varying stages of the band’s short existence, some conceived as a four-piece and fronted by Camp, others recorded after the realisation that a full-time lead singer and a lot more keyboards were going to be necessary. Save for the audio quality which is what you’d expect from a cassette discovered under somebody’s bed, the results are largely inoffensive. One By One, Calling Out For You and the jumbled white boy funk of Element Of Surprise all tip their hats at Mr Mister, Cutting Crew and Silent Running, though lack the guile and quality to echo those same bands at their finest. More frustrating still: genuine prog is woefully thin on the ground.