Karnataka: Secrets Of Angels

Symphonic rock project’s new line-up gets out the big tunes.

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Since Ian Jones formed Karnataka in his Swansea home studio 18 years ago, he’s presided over something of a revolving door policy when it comes to his bandmates. But with classical soprano Hayley Griffiths now up front, this fifth album is their most immediate and commercial-sounding yet.

The booming drums, swathes of strings, haughty, harmony-laced vocals and chugging guitar sound more stirring than ever on galloping-across-the-plains anthems like Borderline and Road To Cairo, and symphonic rock fans will surely lap it up.

The airbrushed production and flowery arrangements might mean songs such as Feels Like Home sound a little gloopy and MOR for some tastes, but this is essentially pop music under all the windswept operatic pomp, and if you treat it as such, it hits the spot in some style./o:p

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock