Half Past Four - Land Of The Blind album review

Crafty Canadians Half Past Four take five for prog.

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This five-track release from the Canadian quintet manages the difficult achievement of being rooted in the archetypal styles of King Crimson and Yes while simultaneously sounding bang up-to-date. Like those fabled forebears, Half Past Four take a smorgasbord of styles, stuff them in a blender, then throw the resulting melange at the listener like an aural Jackson Pollock.

Mathematics opens with whimsical folk, moves through jazz funk thanks to the flexible rhythm section of bassist Dmitry Lesov and drummer Marcello Ciurleo, and segues into an organ solo that’s pure prog. Mood Elevator taps into Frank Zappa’s twisted humour and features a fantastic, frantic jazz rock freak out. There’s a cover of Toronto Tontos from 70s Canucks Max Webster, which boasts a crunchy guitar riff, squeaky toys and farmyard animals.

One-Eyed Man weaves together Igor Kurtzman’s classically-tinted piano with a marvellous off-kilter riff from guitarist Constantin Necrasov. Finally, Mirror Eyes showcases Kyree Vibrant’s expressive vocalising. Land Of The Blind is one of those records where you never know what the band is going from one moment to another. An album of constant surprises, revealing new delights with each successive listen.