FL13 - Page 70

Made in England
My old ears have been taking a
bit of a pounding this month, and
with a very eclectic mix of
music, I must say. I’ve given some
more attention to Porcupine Tree’s
‘Incident’ and have followed that up
with ‘The Resistance’ by Muse. Then
at the other end of the spectrum, I
was not disappointed when ‘God and
Guns’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd finally fell
through the letterbox. A couple of
other aural nosegays have also come
my way recently, and I’m just giving
them a bit of an airing.
Firstly, let’s start with a bit of modern day prog. I’ve grown to like Porcupine Tree over the past couple of
years, and have to say that ‘Arriving
Somewhere but not Here’, from the
Deadwing album, is one of the best,
new tracks I’ve heard in many years,
and regularly gets played at full volume in my car. So, I was intrigued
when I learnt that they were bringing
out an album with just one, fifty-five
minute track. Now, that to me is the
ultimate in prog rock, and although it
is split up into a number of shorter
tracks, as they always are, I was still
full of anticipation. How can I put
this? It’s, well, alright, and a couple of
‘tracks’ are exceptional, but as a
whole I find it lacking in something. I
don’t what it is, maybe having been
brought up with Genesis, Yes and
ELP, the masters of the overblown,
self-indulgent, whole-side-of-analbum track, I expect something more
from an epic. And you hear people
liken them to the Floyd – although I
have to say that ‘Time Flies’, the
longest individual piece at just over
eleven minutes and the best on the
album, is so Floyd-esque as to be pure
plagiarism. Or maybe they meant it to
sound like ‘Pigs on the Wing’ at the
beginning, and for the guitars to
charge away like ‘Run Like Hell’
towards the end, and even the references to ‘Time’ and ‘Cigars’ were just
an homage to the Pinks – here’s hoping, eh? Anyway, that sounds a real
downer of a review, but it is very listenable, and it’s still in my car and will
get me home a couple of times a
week, but it’s not, you know, IT.
My mate Porky has been banging
on about Muse since seeing them at
the Isle of Wight a couple of years ago,
and so I’d listen to ‘Black Holes’ and
thought it was alright, so when he
burned me a copy of the new album, I
was ready for it, having read a couple
of good reviews on it. Again, it’s
alright but, I don’t know, I think it’s his
voice, but to me it’s prog pop. It’s big
and loud and sweeping and majestic
and all that, but then so was the Take
That ‘Circus’ show, and you didn’t
find me there. If you like Muse, you’ll
like this, although the symphony at
the end will certainly catch out a few
cherubic, pre-pubescent progsters,
that’s for sure. Which is probably why
I thought it was some of the best stuff
on the album. Give it a go; I’m probably wrong.
Nah, when it comes down to it, just
give me some good old rock and
bloody roll, and with Skynyrd, that’s
exactly what you get. ‘God and Guns’
is their first studio album for about six
years, in which time most of them
have died, but that never stopped ‘em
before, and it ain’t gonna now – Hell
No! The thing about these southern
boys is that you never have to question their patriotism, and that comes
through in the title track and ‘This
Ain’t My America’, which rail at the
present administration as much as
the last album berated Bush’s terms.
They also love their families and their
kids, and rock’n’roll, and huntin’ and
fishing, and they sure as hell gonna
tell you ‘bout it. A couple of dirty,
swamp music tracks are ‘Floyd’ and
‘Storm’, and they really have an air of
foreboding about them, and are probably among my favourites. But
through it all them guitars just keep
on wailin’. There’s a ‘special edition’
Skynyrd – you just know what you’re gonna get and they never disappoint


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