Panic Room — Visionary Position
(Firefly FMCD001, 2008, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-10-01
Panic 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
Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more
10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more
Bill Bruford Ventures into Uncharted Territory – Drum master Bill Bruford, veteran of some of the most creative bands in history (King Crimson, Yes, Genese, etc.), is sharing some of what he's learned about being a drummer and a musician in his new book, Uncharted: Creativity and the Expert Drummer, out on University of Michigan Press. » Read more