“A triumph of melodic prog which wears its influences on its sleeve, yet still sounds bold and entirely contemporary”: Cyan’s reinvention of Pictures From The Other Side

Classic and neo-prog meets classy pop-rock in lavish upgrade of 1994 original

Cyan - Pictures From The Other Side
(Image: © Tigermoth Records)

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

In 2021, Magenta and Cyan mainman Rob Reed revisited the latter’s 1993 debut For King And Country. He’s done the same here with its 1994 follow-up, Pictures From The Other Side.

Songs have been reworked, rearranged and expanded in a variety of ways, and completely re-recorded by a band featuring Reed, the seemingly ubiquitous Peter Jones on vocals and sax, equally in-demand guitarist Luke Machin and ex-Godsticks/Magenta bassist Dan Nelson. Almost every track also features Welsh artist Angharad Brinn’s backing vocals (as did For King And Country), which work symbiotically with Jones and add a further dimension to the songs.

With elegantly pulsating yet understated verses and some great vocal hooks, impassioned keyboards and guitar breaks, and the merest hint of early Genesis towards the end, Broken Man kicks things off. It’s immediately apparent that Jones has approached this project intent on channelling both Peter Gabriel’s characterful rasp and Phil Collins’ emotive power. He does so very successfully at various points throughout the album, most notably on Broken Man and  Nosferatu.

Jones’ sax provides some gorgeous seasoning and soloing to the smooth pop/rock with jazzy undertones of the title track, conjuring the spirit of some slick 80s US TV drama theme tune with a Mike + The Mechanics twist, before the album hits three largely slower, gentler and more atmospheric tunes.

Solitary Angel sees Jones in emotional overload as he demonstrates his extensive vocal range, with some exquisite guitar interludes from Machin. Follow The Flow builds from fragile piano and voice, adding intensity with minimal extraneous instrumentation. Both this and Tomorrow’s Here Today feature further duetting between Brinn and Jones, bringing to mind the Gabriel/Bush pairing on the classic Don’t Give Up – especially on the latter.

Tomorrow’s Here Today detours into an unexpectedly dramatic, up-tempo instrumental middle section with fiery solos from both Machin and Reed; and a build to a climactic, soaring ending. An undoubted highlight of the album.

Tomorrow’s Here Today detours into an unexpectedly dramatic, up-tempo instrumental middle section with fiery solos… an undoubted highlight

Closer Nosferatu sees a post-Lamb Genesis-esque intro segue into a hard-edged, stomping section reminiscent of the likes of early Pallas. Add in a bit of theatre, more hints of Genesis, the merest suggestion of It Bites and an ending that owes more than a little to Carmina Burana, and this is an epic 17 minutes of pure prog gold.

Reed has constructed a triumph of melodic prog, which wears its influences on its sleeve, yet still sounds bold and entirely contemporary.

Pictures From The Other Side is on sale now via Tigermoth Records.

Gary Mackenzie

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.