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The Mute Gods: Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me

Reinvented prog Zelig locates his own voice.

Nick Beggs has latterly established himself as a respected prog muso, consigning his youthful Kajagoogoo days to clip shows. Having worked with Stevens Wilson and Hackett, the bassist (and more) felt the yen to do his own album.

With Hackett’s right-hand man, keyboard player Roger King and Wilson’s drummer Marco Minnemann collaborating, his music is coming from a school placed on the corner of modern prog and soft rock.

It takes itself seriously. Themes include those pesky governments, corporations and religions. There’s perhaps an earnestness overkill, not helped by the opening title track being a drab plodder. Nightschool For Idiots, however, is a truly charming, catchy love song, while Strange Relationship and Swimming Horses (no relation to the Siouxsie number) channel the slick playing into something with blood and a pulse.

Beggs’s reconciliatory duet with his daughter is either moving or mawkish, depending on whether you’ve reproduced. Solid, but not spectacular.

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.