Step Ahead — Step Ahead
(Musea FGBG 4037.AR, 1982/1992, CD)
by Mike Borella, 1993-10-01:Step Ahead was one of France's best symphonic bands and this, their only release, was a quite a rarity, not only in availability but also in quality. In the early eighties, few bands kept the progressive flame alive while all too many decided that sounding like Genesis was the best way to appeal to progressive fans. Step Ahead managed to derive a certain amount from Drama era Yes and some others but remains original in composition and atmosphere. Driven by Christain Robin's searing guitar work, the band created and pleasant yet powerful sympho album that deserves a listen by prog-heads and neo-proggers alike. Keyboardist Claudie Truchi plays with a wonderful style - she doesn't just bang chords during guitar solos or vocals lines - instead she plays complex multi-threaded semi-classical lines. Herrhythm playing is fantastic. Perhaps the best since Keith Emerson. Vocalist Danny Brown has a high pitched, strong tenor, and the band is rounded out by a solid rhythm section, capable of making the album worth listening to for the bass and drums alone. This disc contains five extra tracks, two of which are previously unreleased, destined for Step Ahead's second album, which never was finished. These two and the three live tracks are mediocre quality and not worth buying the Musea pressing for if you already have the out-of-print Japanese pressing. However they do add a nice touch for completists. Step Ahead may have been a precursor to the Marillion sound that dominated the mid-eighties, but I maintain that they are the most worthwhile of all bands that adopted that sound. They were original, yet their music contains a familiar flavor, thoughtful lyrics and listenable groove that makes its underlying complexity almost deceptive.
by Henry Schneider, 1993-12-31:This CD includes Step Ahead’s only album recorded in 1982, three live tracks recorded at the Théâtre de Verdure, Nice, November 1982, and two previously unreleased tracks recorded at Step Ahead's rehearsal studio in 1982. The additional five songs are not of the same technical quality as the rest of the songs. Christian Robin and Musea included them as a document of their musical value for the band’s fans. Christian Robin reworked these tracks at Mr. Potier studio, Metz-Magny, in October 1992 to give them the best sound quality possible under the circumstances. Step Ahead was Christian Robin (electric guitars), Danny Brown (vocals), Gérard Macia (Ovation Adamas acoustic guitar), Claudie Truchi (keyboards, Bösendorfer Imperial grand piano), Antoine Ferrera (bass), Jean-Yves Dufournier (drums), Alain Lejeune (keyboards), Philippe Recht (bass), and Emmanuel Riquier (drums). Together they produced symphonic progressive music along the lines of Yes, FM, and Rick Wakeman. Christian’s voice sounds like Jon Anderson with more body. If you appreciate middle of the road progressive music, Step Ahead is an album to explore.
Related artist(s): Step Ahead
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
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more