Panic Room — Visionary Position
(Firefly FMCD001, 2008, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-12-31Panic Room is a new Welsh group featuring members from Karnataka, Mostly Autumn, and Fish’s band: Paul Davies (guitars), Jonathan Edwards (keys), Anne-Marie Helder (vocals), Gavin John Griffiths (drums), and Alun Vaughn (bass), plus guest musicians Liz Prendergast (electric violin) and Gary Phillips (nylon guitar). The music has definite progressive elements, but there are noticeable pop, Celtic, and jazz influences as well. The interplay of the guitars, keyboards, and percussion is superb. These guys know their business and can really rock. Sadly though, Anne-Marie is not up to the task; her voice only invokes pale comparisons to Kate Bush, Natalie Imbruglia, Lisa Gerrard, Loreena McKennitt, Sandy Denny, and/or Linda Ronstadt. Her uneven vocals work better when she sings alto, which does not happen enough on this disc. Her voice simply does not have the tonal quality to sing soprano like Loreena, Linda, or even Dolly Parton can. On “Elektra City,” “Endgame,” and the excellent “Apocalypstick,” Anne-Marie and the band are outstanding and she soars. But on “Firefly,” “Reborn,” and most especially the ballad “Moon on the Water,” it sounds like Anne-Marie is holding back and verging on Joanna Newsome’s annoying little-girlish style of singing. It is difficult to get excited about this band; there are so many other groups recording better music these days. Overall, Visionary Position is all right, but not something I would choose to listen to more than once or twice.
Related artist(s): Panic Room
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more