Red Jasper: The Great And Secret Show

New neo from a little gem of a band.

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Hearing The Great And Secret Show had us double-checking that this wasn’t a re-release of some obscure neo-prog album, so redolent is it of the sound, production and writing of those late-70s/early-80s British acts.

Although Red Jasper have history (they originally blasted out of Wiltshire in the mid-80s), this is indeed a new recording, yet they clearly haven’t lost touch with their roots. Strongly reminiscent of Solstice or a more folky, less scary Twelfth Night, Red Jasper utilise a combination of the expected neo tropes: soaring guitar solos, classic keyboard sounds, acoustic guitar and a gently affected, over-enunciated vocal delivery from frontman David Clifford. Slabs of Mellotron underpin the title track and the jauntily majestic An Hour Of Time, sultry sax adds colour to The Time Is Right and Robin Harrison’s guitar wrings emotion from Ray Of Darkness. Closer Living The Life opens with a parping synth line flown in from 1981. Uptempo and cheerily sardonic, its main hook sounds like a curious mash-up of Cat Stevens’ Matthew And Son and Pallas’ Arrive Alive. This is an excellent album for those who hanker after more innocent, less sonically polished times.

Gary Mackenzie

Gary has contributed reviews and news features for Prog Magazine for over a decade now. A fan of prog and heavy rock since childhood, his main areas of interest are classic and symphonic prog, prog-metal and modern acts bringing in fresh influences to the genre. He has a professional background in youth and community work, he teaches drum kit in schools and is a working musician. Gary was the drummer in semi-legendary NWOBHM band Praying Mantis for a couple of years and has been a member of indie-prog-pop-art-rock combo The Mighty Handful for more than twenty years. He loves cats and skiing, and has a Blue Peter badge.