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Diagonal: The Second Mechanism

Disappointing comeback from UK proggers

Hailing from the south coast of England, Diagonal attracted mouthwatering reviews of a self-titled debut album that’s now four years old. A heady brew of swirling psychedelic and progressive sounds overlain by the type of excesses only encouraged by the jazz-rock fraternity, Diagonal doffed its elaborately feathered cap at Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson and Camel.

Lineup changes have silenced the band for quite a while, but here they are again in equally off-the-wall yet slightly alternate form. The Second Mechanism is much lighter on the Mellotron and neo-prog influences, favouring a tougher, far jazzier approach, but vocals are conspicuous by their absence until track four, Hulks, which arrives more than 25 minutes into proceedings.

Certain offerings such as overtly Middle-Eastern-flavoured These Yellow Sands don’t require any such form of commentary or explanation, but given the amount of improvisation that’s going on, a casual listener would almost certainly find the rest of this album just too impenetrable.