Quiet World - The Road reissue album review

Hippie-prog rarity revived with added Hackett

Quiet World The Road album cover

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A must-hear for anyone fond of early prog’s more borderline-deranged offerings, this 1970 curio returns, remastered and sprinkled with bonus tracks – the icing on a cake someone definitely left out in the rain.

Quiet World was a studio project initiated by the Heather brothers John, Lea and Neil, who after this bombed went on to success in musical theatre. Within their formative strivings here one can spot similar DNA to both Tommy and Jesus Christ Superstar as they earnestly employ religious imagery and marvel at the fact their senses function.

The Road, which wobbles heroically through bombast like Loneliness And Grief and Christ Continued, might have been even more neglected than it is were it not for the presence of guitarist Steve Hackett, making his recording debut. His flautist brother John also contributes.

Hackett left to join Genesis five minutes later, and in truth, his fills here are of historical interest rather than exceptional value.

The album, as conceptual as the day is long, has that reedy, charming sound the schoolboy-age Genesis had when trying to emulate the Bee Gees: it’s dated both badly and quaintly. The Moody Blues without the tunes, it’s bookended by pompous spoken-word sections, banging on about freedom, peace and love, which make one suspect stripy trousers and dodgy cravats were worn.

If, however, you’ve woken up today smitten with wonder for the trees, grass, sky, fish ‘and birds that fly’, this will prove a suitably spiritual soundtrack.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.