Until recently, Hollow Water consisted of just Alan Cookson on keyboards and Huw Roberts on guitars. They have been producing instrumental material since 2012 which culminated with a loose collection of compositions entitled ‘Jigsaw Music’ in 2013. However, for this album they also brought in guests, so there are a further three guitarists, a few bassists, saxophonists etc. This is a good old-fashioned concept album, with some spoken pieces and effects, and I found that when playing this in the car I was getting quite annoyed with the “story” as I wanted to listen to the music, but when I was sat at home and able to review the 20-page comic booklet I must confess it made much more sense. The album has a sci-fi theme involving three acquaintances who form a team and search for a rainbow which stays all the time: they embark on a comedy adventure which leads to a strange dimension where light does different things to here on earth. But, and it is a rather large “but”, there really are times when there is far too much intrusion. The album starts with the results of a pub quiz, and a voice says, “See you next week as usual, maybe something exciting will happen for a change”. As the recipient of that message starts his car I had two thoughts: the first was that this has to be one of the corniest introductions I had come across, and secondly that Kiss did it much better at the beginning of ‘Destroyer’ some 40 years ago.
That there are some good passages on the album, with the influences of the likes of Camel and Pink Floyd very much in evidence, but the overall feel is that it just really isn’t up to scratch. I question how much external governance there was on the album, and how many musicians were actually in the same place at the same time. There is enough for me to wonder what the debut album sounded like, as that may well be a better experience, but now I’m sat here playing ‘Destroyer’, which isn’t what I sat down to do and probably says quite a lot about what I feel about this release.