Sunday, 30 November 2014

Album Review - Jack Jeffery, Enlightened Horizon

Jack Jeffery, 'Approaching the Starlight'

Info: When Virginian musician Jack Jeffery got in touch with his new album and cited The Alan Parsons Project, Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues as influences I was instantly curious, especially by The Alan Parsons mention. As a huge fan who has the first three amazing albums, Tales of Mystery & Imagination, I Robot and Pyramid on record I was really eager to hear what Jeffery had put together, and the results are pretty impressive. The opening track, 'Global Rise, Ancient Truth' starts off with an unmistakable APP bass-line and all the trappings of the science fiction landscape the London band created on their albums in the seventies. 'Melancholy Minstrel' also has a pretty British prog-rock feel about it, with Lennon-like vocals layered over Pink Floyd The Wall era guitars and drums. 'Memories of Tomorrow' (below) is the fourth track and it's psych sound is a real pleasure, along with some clean Dire Straits sounding guitar riffs (Brothers in Arms), it really could have made it's away onto any number of classic albums within the genre.

At the half-way point of the album we reach 'Approaching the Starlight' which is a truly impressive 6 minute long piece of music that slowly builds and to be honest, after only a listen or two, becomes very powerful. Like a mixed tribute to all of his influences the song goes through inter-linking phases, from it's initial 'scene from a cult sci-fi film', to the sinister drone of the electric guitar in the middle, before a breath-taking 80's rock climax, check it out for yourself up top. The following track 'Continuum' edges closer toward the modern era, it's an intense electronic ride, while 'Amazing Grace / Consequence of Love' enters the realms of a more grungy guitar-based sound. The album finishes strongly on 'Never Go Back To The Mountain', a folky orchestral ballad which, even at 8 minutes, doesn't get tired. Finally, 'Our Own Past' reaches back to the earlier decades once again, it's like a Bowie / Lennon collaboration, and maybe it's just the time of year, but feels very Christmas oriented for some reason, in a good way!

Jack Jeffery, 'Memories of Tomorrow'

Enlightened Horizon is undoubtedly the work of someone who is steeped in early progressive rock and experimental music, and, bar a few clues here and there, if someone had handed me this album without saying anything about it, I would have fully expected it to be a little-known gem from the mid to late 70's that had somehow passed me by. Jack Jeffery has made a stand-out psychedelic album and put every piece of it together immaculately, right, I'm off to check out his earlier stuff.

Additional Info: Enlightened Horizon is a follow-up to the critically-acclaimed 2012 release The Constant That Remains, and picks up where Constant left off to once again transport the listener on a journey through progressive and ambient soundscapes. 

Enlightened Horizon expands the musical palette and explores different styles and influences including progressive rock, electronica ("Global Rise, Ancient Truth," "Continuum," "Approaching the Starlight"), straight-ahead rock and roll ("Amazing Grace/The Consequence of Love"), classic progressive rock ("Our Own Past"), world music, and acoustic ("The Road That Never Ends"). Influences include Pink Floyd, Alan Parsons, The Moody Blues, The Beatles, Neil Young, and Kraftwerk.

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