Six years after their debut, Days Between Stations – keyboard player Oscar Fuentes and guitarist Sepand Samzadeh – finally return with a new album featuring lots of famous friends.
In Extremis checks all the classic prog boxes – it’s a concept album about a man’s life flashing before his eyes, complete with an epic suite-based structure and a musical palette that dips into everything from folk to pop to classical, taking in a barbershop quartet along the way for good measure.
The two musicians are aided and abetted by an all-star cast of Rick Wakeman, Colin Moulding, the late Peter Banks, Tony Levin and Billy Sherwood, who doubles up on vocals and drums.
Given the duo’s LA origins, it is remarkable how successfully the music invokes the sounds and textures of vintage British prog, from the pastoral folk inflections of Eggshell Man to Colin Moulding’s vocals recalling the spirit of XTC on the hugely catchy The Man Who Died Two Times. Not to be outshone by the heavyweights, Samzadeh delivers a shining slide guitar solo on Blackfoot.
In Extremis is an album of lofty ideas by a band who have the talent – not to mention the address book – to match their ambition.