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Downes Braide Association - Skyscraper Souls album review

Selling Asia by the pound

Cover art for Downes Braide Association - Skyscraper Souls album

Five years after Geoff Downes hooked up with singer/ producer Chris Braide, the duo’s third album has fulfilled the promise of the first two and stands alongside anything Downes has achieved since Buggles.

The formula is simple enough: a mood-setting piano intro followed by some fluid, melodic vocals leading to a sequence of classic prog keyboard chords. And Braide’s mid-Atlantic stylings blend well with Downes’ resolutely British approach.

They revel in their 70s influences – the title track is an 18-minute epic – but unlikely collaborators like Kate Pierson (B-52’s), Andy Partridge (XTC) and Marc Almond add their distinctive pop sensibilities.

The coup de grâce is using musicians instead of machines for the rhythm section, which makes the album swing like a lawnmower.