Last But Not Least - prog reviews roundup

Grant Moon rounds up some of the many other records passing under the Prog portcullis.

Dolcetti Arriver album artwork

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Gianni Rojatti and Erik Tulissio are Italian instrumental duo Dolcetti, and they’ve opened for the likes of The Aristocrats, Tosin Abasi, Paul Gilbert and Steve Vai. If you enjoy these widdlers’ work then do check out the self-released Arriver, a hugely enjoyable mix of modern electro, retro synth pop and some serious Ibanez wrangling, complete with cheeky nods to everyone from The Police to Into The Groove-era Madonna. Sweet stuff indeed.

The story behind Orange Clocks’ album Tope’s Sphere (Bad Elephant) is fanciful (über-producer Russ Russell rediscovers unmade 70s German animation; recruits the Clocks to soundtrack it), but the album is a beautifully made slice of escapist fun. A narrated, psych/sci-fi tale of knitted monkey Tope and his pal Chode on a cosmic adventure, it’s as if Journey To The Centre Of The Earth inspired Daevid Allen and Dave Brock to write a concept album about The Clangers and they got Alan Parsons to record it. Credit cards
at the ready!

Former Citizen Cain-er Stewart Bell’s 2014 solo album The Antechamber Of Being was the first third of his deep, conceptual and lyric-laden rock opera inspired by his experience of lucid dreaming. He returns to the netherworld in The Antechamber Of Being (Part 2) – Stories From The Antechamber (F2), which features vocals from Arjen Lucassen, The Watch’s Simone Rossetti and his old bandy, Phil Allen. Operatic, crammed with neo-prog ideas and delivered with fervour, it’s even better than the first entry. This is quietly evolving into a monolithic, truly high-minded work.

The Uncertainty Principle are a five-piece from New Delhi who’ve performed alongside the likes of Dead Letter Circus and Karnivool, and their self-released debut album Discord (TUP Music) proves how they earned their place, even if their capable take on progressive metal is a little boilerplate. There’s plenty o’ Tool, a welcome raw edge in parts and good harmonies here, but they clearly have potential to push the boundaries further and further from their current post-grunge core.

Based in Orlando, Brooklyn brothers Andy and Edwin White are Tonstartssbandht, and three tracker Sorcerer (Mexican Summer) is their first full-length work. It’s compelling stuff, too. The near 10-minute title track has a central riff that feels like it’s always been there, and the psych guitar/drum-heavy vibe runs in thrilling tandem with the Whites’ lo-fi, noise-pop aesthetic. The Doors meet Sonic Youth, perhaps, to mesmerising and incantatory effect.

And finally, there’s just enough space left to mention the towering fourth album by versatile British film/ads composer Robin Foster. Heavenly in parts, Empyrean (Membran) demonstrates just what a firm handle he has on modern movie music, but also big, ethereal pop and motorik post-rock too.

Grant Moon

A music journalist for over 20 years, Grant writes regularly for titles including Prog, Classic Rock and Total Guitar, and his CV also includes stints as a radio producer/presenter and podcast host. His first book, 'Big Big Train - Between The Lines', is out now through Kingmaker Publishing.