Downes Braide Association — Suburban Ghosts
(no#, 2015, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2016-05-21
Everything old is new again, and this time the wayback machine is set to the early 80s sound of The Buggles, courtesy of former Buggle Geoff Downes and English musician / producer Chris Braide. This fine collection of arty synth-pop (the follow up to 2012’s Pictures of You) encompasses cosmopolitan glamour (“Suburban Ghosts,” “North Sea”), introspective piano and voice confessionals (“Vanity,” “Live Twice”), and up-tempo danceable pop (“Number One,” “Time Goes Fast”). A conceptual thread about the tensions between suburban and urban life runs through the album, with the kind of suite structures, preludes, and instrumental segments that are more often found in progressive rock – or at least in the more experimental synth pop of Downes’ fellow Buggle Trevor Horn’s work with Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Art of Noise. This is obviously well-trod ground for Downes, though by pairing with a “young Turk” (who has clearly absorbed and embraced the strengths from that era) he matches his vast knowledge of vintage synth textures and lush production values with a skilled songwriter and singer who gifts him with a huge boost of credibility after many years wandering the wastelands of Asia. Beyond his deep production and compositional skills, Braide’s vocals are a huge asset for the duo. He continually displays an uncanny knack for drawing out just the right emotional tone required by the song. Throw in a terrific guitar solo from David Gregory in closer “Dreaming of England” and you easily have one of the better albums of 2015.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more