Returned To The Earth - Fall Of The Watcher

Kev Rowland, Returned To The Earth - Fall Of The Watcher

I confess to not being as close to the UK progressive scene as I was some 30 years ago, which probably has something to do with there being far more people writing about progressive rock music these days, combined with me now living on the other side of the world. That is my excuse for having never heard of this prog trio until I was contacted by Thomas Szirmay asking if I had. A quick check of his review on PA and I was heading off to the band’s site to make contact, the result being that I am now listening to their latest album. This 2022 release is their fourth, all with the same line-up of Robin Peachey (vocals, guitar), Steve Peachey (keyboards), and Paul Johnston (drums). I was not surprised to see that this was mastered by Steve Kitch of The Pineapple Thief, as that is a band which has obviously been a major influence, along with the likes of no-man or even Japan. However, there is no doubt that this band, while prog, have also been influenced by some classic British keyboard-based pop bands, with Pet Shop Boys an obvious stopping point. However, that may just be my mind playing tricks on me as Robin’s vocals are very close indeed to Neil Tennant, although Peter Nicholls is in there as well, as is Nik Kershaw.

There is a great deal of space within the arrangements, and there are times when it feels like there is very little depth with everything on the surface with just Paul slightly behind the rest. The keyboards and guitar are where all the action is happening in terms of musical accompaniment, but there is not as much within the dynamics as I would have liked, as the contrast is not always there to set off the different components. There is also quite a large use of electronic percussion, although played by a human, which takes us back to the Eighties yet with modern production and styles. I can imagine there being some debates on this band being accepted onto PA by the team in question, as there are quite long sections where one can easily argue the pop influences have taken over from the prog, although for the most part the guys blend them together.

This album has already been given maximum marks on PA by two writers I highly admire, yet I cannot bring myself to go quite that far. I can understand why some people will think that, yet for me this is just too restrained, polished and with not enough breakouts so one can feel somewhat smothered within it. I would have preferred to have more dynamics such as we hear on “Sacrificed In Vain”, where the guitars make their presence felt, but if you enjoy music from bands such as those mentioned, with a heavy dose of 80’s keyboard pop brought in, all delivered in a considered manner then these guys could well be a major find.

MLWZ album na 15-lecie