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Prog Round-up: July 2011

Geoff Barton on new releases from Leap Day, Trey Gunn, Memories Of Machines, Tinkicker and Trettioåriga Kriget

Leap Day: Skylge’s Lair

As we all know, the term ‘prog rock’ and the word ‘glamour’ don’t exactly go hand in hand. But just take a look at the motley members of Leap Day in the photo above. Make an effort, guys, fer Chrissakes! This Dutch band released their first album, Awaking The Muse, back in 2009. The tongue-twistingly-titled Skylge’s Lair is the follow-up. Its more gentle, pastoral parts recall the work of late Swedish musician Bo ‘Lord Of The Rings’ Hansson, and when Leap Day build up a head of steam they’re reminiscent of a heavier Greenslade or Caravan. There’s a disjointed feel to some of the songs, with keys and guitar sometimes pursuing different agendas, but Jos Harteveld’s strangely alluring vocal style (imagine Mike Myers’s Goldmember fronting a prog band) holds it all together. Highlights are The Willow Tree, a sparse, elegiac ballad, and a short instrumental called Humble Origin. Sadly the title track also turns out to be an instrumental, so we never get to know who Skylge is, or what in tarnation he’s getting up to in his Lair. (710)

Trey Gunn: I’ll Tell What I Saw (1993-2010)

Trey Gunn, a member of King Crimson from ’94 to ’03, specialises in the Warr Guitar and the Chapman Stick. This two-CD set includes over two hours of music drawn from his wide-ranging catalogue. Impeccable musicianship is high on the agenda, but one can only take so many dextrous, jazzy instrumentals. (610)

Memories Of Machines: Warm Winter

MOM is a collaboration between Tim Bowness (No-Man) and Giancarlo Erra (Nosound). This is a beguiling mix of giant-sounding art rock and bittersweet self-reflection, and comes highly recommended. Guests include Peter Hammill (Van der Graaf), Robert Fripp (King Crimson) and Julianne Regan (All About Eve). (810)

Tinkicker: The Playground At The Edge Of The Abyss

The last time we wrote about Tinkicker, we said they sounded like ‘Rush playing power metal after a vodka binge’. This concept is based on characters such as Frank (the successful bastard) and Mary (the teenage prostitute). With brutal guitar power chords to the fore, there’s less Rush but even more vodka this time around. (710)

Trettioåriga Kriget: After After

After After concludes a trilogy that began with ’04’s The Fire Of Years and was continued by In The Beginning And The End in ’07. The veteran Swedes sing in their own language, so we’ve no idea what their concept is about, but don’t let that spoil your enjoyment. Tracks like Barnet (could be about the town; could be about hair) are packed full of brooding, melancholic prog. (710)

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.