Fusion Orchestra 2
added: 6 Jun 2014
// release date: 6 Jun 2014 // label: Self Issued
reviewer: Andy Snipper
In the old days of Prog (1st incarnation if you like) one of the bands who should have been massive were the Fusion Orchestra. To my memory they produced one album for EMI in around ’73 featuring the delightful Jill Saward on vocals and toured pretty hard but disappeared in around ’75.
There is one of the original members still involved in the new project, guitarist Col Dawson, but to all other extent this is a new band but still in the Prog world.
First thing to say is that the album is a hell of a lot better than I expected it to be. They cross over the Rock, Jazz and Prog worlds with ease and while this is still very much in the classical Prog style it has a definite freshness and life about it. The album consists of three long pieces and a few shorter linking segments but it feels organic and all three of the long numbers stand alone but work as part of a whole. They have avoided the modern take on Metal Prog and Dawson’s guitar is more in the Jazz and rock vein while Ben Bell’s keyboards are textural and integral to the music rather than being the focus of it. Elsie Lovelock is the new vocalist and she has a fine voice. I did find that as I turned the wick up her voice became stronger and less shrill and she sounds as though she would be a great live performer.
I am a sucker for a good Prog bass and drums and in Shemski on bass and Seez Dyer on percussion they have musicians that seem capable of a lot more than a basic rhythm. No silly widdling or cymbal laden explosions but Shemski actually plays his instrument and Seez adds some great drive to the sound.
‘Secret Shadow’ is a number that I find I am replaying regularly as it builds and brings all of the bands weapons in to play and delivers some real punch with a brilliant organ section.
Overall this album is a delight. Well structured music that keeps the ear and the brain engaged rather than just drifting off into long rambles and with some fine riffs and playing.
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