Lee Abraham — Black & White
(Festival 200905, 2009, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2011-06-01
On this album Lee Abraham is treading a similar path as countryman Steve Thorne (see Roundtables, this issue), though overall these songs have a stronger metal quality to them, especially in the guitars. The music likewise has a certain amount of instant likeability, perhaps best exemplified by the poppy chorus of “Celebrity Status,” though as a songwriter I’d give the nod to Thorne. The album benefits from crystal clear modern production (courtesy of Karl Groom), but at the end of the day its relative success for the listener will come down to the songs. Most eschew complexity in the arrangements in favor of a straightforward approach to verse-chorus structures, though with enough instrumental and sonic development that fans of British prog groups like DeeExpus and Jadis should find much here to enjoy. Abraham shines as a multi-instrumentalist, capably covering guitars, keyboards, and bass, though he’s enlisted the aid of John Mitchell (guitar), Dean Baker (piano), and Gerald Mulligan (drums) to give the songs some additional instrumental polish. Vocals are split between Sean Filkins (Big Big Train), Simon Godfrey (Tinyfish), and Gary Chandler (Jadis), and here is where the album is most conventional. Parts of the music hint at Pink Floyd, with the proggiest moments reserved for the closing epic, “White.” Here Abraham alternates between NWOBM metal grind and Genesis’ 80s melodic tunefulness. It’s not a sound I’d guarantee every Exposé reader to enjoy, but Abraham should be proud of the effort and the results.
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