As prog fans we’re all quite partial to the concept album, but here’s something that pushes that envelope a little – a concept band.
Dublin-based four-piece M-Opus have introduced this idea for their debut, re-imagining themselves as a fictitious band of the same name, who have been plying their trade for some 40 years, and we’re being introduced to their back catalogue. This first entry in the series is their supposed 1975 album, with the follow-up planned to represent 1978. It’s certainly an intriguing idea, and an imaginative way to encourage listeners to invest in their career as a whole, but the problem is that the restrictive nature of the concept means the album falls between two stools. The need to tailor the music to a particular year does rob it of some of the feel of a band making the music they want to make, while the time-capsule nature of the work is upset by too many stylistic anomalies (the opening track, Travelling Man, has the feel of mid-80s It Bites). Overall the music is a little too hamstrung by its constraints to realise its potential, but there are still great, promising moments here, particularly in the sprawling 33-minute centrepiece, Different Skies.