Red Sand - The Sound Of The Seventh Bell

Kev Rowland

I know I am not as close the prog scene as I used to be but must admit to being amazed to realise this is the tenth studio album from a band I have never heard of. Formed by multi-instrumentalist Simon Caron back in 2004, this neo-prog outfit is also an active touring unit where they are joined by additional musicians, but whereas the last album (2019’s, ‘Crush The Seed’) was by a quintet, here we find them operating as a trio. All three played on the last album, with Simon Caron here taking on additional roles and now providing guitars, bass, and keyboards alongside drummer Perry Angelilo and singer Steff. Hailing from Quebec, Simon produced it himself but then brought Michel St-Pere (Mystery, Huis) to mix while it was mastered by Richard Addison.

The bass is very powerful in this, reminiscent of when Neil Pepper was in Galahad, adding additional elements and runs which provide something of a funk element at times, and while polished neo-prog is the main approach there is also plenty of Floyd in what they are doing, combining different sub genres together to create something which is both approachable and interesting at the same time. It has the American polish which is reminiscent of the bands which broke out of the scene in the 90’s, and although I have seen comments likening them to the early British scene, to my ears it is from that viewpoint as opposed to a direct influence. It never sounds like a multi-instrumentalist plus others, as this has a real band feel but the keyboards are not as dominant as one would normally expect within this style, allowing the ears to concentrate more on the vocals which are pleasant with nice harmonies and edge.

It does not have the bite one would normally associate with this style, and there are times when they fall between neo and Floyd and end up with something which can be bland and wash into the background, but there are also times when it is very interesting indeed. The result is a prog album which can be played in the background and not frighten anyone, but with not quite enough focus to be truly enthralling throughout. 

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