Drifting Sun - Twilight,
Back in a different life, when I was still working the night shift in a supermarket, and living in an ex-council house in the UK, I used to run a fanzine called Feedback. These were the days before the internet, and as I was one of the few outlets for prog reviews, I used to receive a lot of material from different bands and labels. One of these labels was Musea, and one day they sent me the debut album by Drifting Sun. I said some nice things about them, and I was sent the sophomore release at the end of the Nineties, and then, nothing. Keyboard player Pat Sanders had always been the main man in Drifting Sun, and after some years away he eventually decided to return to the music industry and to resurrect the band name with a brand-new line-up. The third album was released in 2015 (what’s sixteen years between friends?), the fourth followed just a year later, and now we are here with the fifth. I haven’t heard the intervening albums, but one day out of the blue Pat contacted me again (one advantage of keeping the same email address forever), and asked if I would be interested in hearing what they sounded like today, and now here I am playing Drifting Sun more than 20 years after our paths first crossed.
I deliberately haven’t gone back and played the first two albums, although they are still here on my shelves, as I felt that would probably be unfair and I should treat them as a new act. Immediately, what did surprise me were the harmonies and sheer professionalism that pervades this release. It certainly doesn’t remind me of what they used to be like, as there is a lot more thought and attention to detail in the arrangements, which are full of space and room for everyone to move and breathe. Although they are different in many ways to Big Big Train, they are the band that they remind me of the most, both in terms of musical construct and how they have moved such a very long way from their roots. ProgArchives list these guys as neo-prog, and at one time that would have been the case, but they have moved far more into the Crossover sub-genre now, and if they were put forward for inclusion now I am sure that is where they would be placed.
They have been heavily influenced by Hogarth-era Marillion, but have managed to stay away from the twee and contribute something that is both interesting and easy to listen to. This is prog that invites the listener in. True, it could never be played just in the background as it might disappear, but when wanting to play music in the evening to sit and relax to then this is almost perfect in many ways. With three albums in three years it is safe to say that Drifting Sun are very much back, and I for one am very glad they are.