The recording of Time Grid’s album Life has been a journey of luck and setbacks. Since a chum generously offered to record their debut for the princely sum of nothing, it’s taken them four years to get the damn thing into a long-player, losing guitar parts and a producer along the way.
That’s probably one gift horse they can look in the mouth. Thank goodness this album justifies the hard work. Think of District 47 and Ayreon with a slosh of Dream Theater, Jeff Wayne and Touchstone and you get a picture of what these Swiss neo-proggers like to eat for breakfast.
There are no eye-opening moments on Life but complexity is ingrained in the fluid rivulets of jazzy space-age flourishes and clean, exuberant guitars. As prog albums go, this one is fairly indecisive, relying on constant switches in rhythm, textures and dramatics. Minor keys abound and the incidental eccentricities sometimes give this a touch of the Devin Townsends, but mainly the flavour is theatrical, metallic and ambitious, sandwiching passages of loungey sentiment and 80s-inspired ambience.
It could do with an anchor to rein in the mercurial stylings, but otherwise it’s a neat first stab.