The Aaron Clift Experiment — If All Goes Wrong
((Not on label) MUSI-00005, 2018, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-07-22
The third time is the charm, especially for Aaron Clift and his cohorts. I delayed gratification for three months to listen to their new album If All Goes Wrong as I worked through my review queue. And I am very pleased to say that the wait was worth it in every aspect! If All Goes Wrong has a less personal sound than the first two, with the music showing a mature band stretching their muscles and enjoying the music, plus presenting Aaron’s grittier side. Overall, the music is very different from Lonely Hills and Outer LIght, Inner Darkness. The album opens with “Faith,” a gritty metal prog song with strong gutsy guitar work. “Last Crash” is a harsh metal rock song with melodic vocal harmonies that go through many complex changes. Next is “Absent Lovers,” a beautiful bucolic pastorale complete with violin, viola, cello, and classical guitar reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, Genesis, and Steve Hackett compositions giving the song a 70s Euro Prog flavor, plus a sense of Shakespeare. Aaron then goes in a brand new direction with “Better off Before,” a British psych-pop music hall song, kind of a blend of Queen and The Beatles. Next is “Castle in the Sky” that offers up some more melodic metal prog and tempo shifts. Then, gaining confidence in their sound, is the dark and grungy “Savage in a Fancy Suit” recalling early Black Sabbath and morphing into a fantastic organ and guitar jam. The album just gets better as you move to “Dream within a Dream,” which is an original song, not a cover of Sprit's song from the 60s. Aaron’s song is a polished composition with a smooth, soaring guitar solo that links to their past work. Next is the arena rock “Wild Hunters” that should propel them to a much larger audience. When I finally reached the title track, I was blown away. The fantastic lush Mellotron intro had me on my knees and the song pays homage to Robert Fripp’s “In the Court of the Crimson King.” And the closing song “Back to the Water” is a bonus track that is an introspective ballad consisting solely of Aaron’s vocals and piano. If All Goes Wrong is certainly one of the best releases this year, and it makes their first two releases pale in comparison. Any fan of modern progressive rock should make every effort to track down a copy of If All Goes Wrong.
Related artist(s): Aaron Clift
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