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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jadis

Fanatic

Review by Steve Alspach

You have to hand it to IQ - you give a band an opening slot with you and end up loaning them half your band. So it is with Jadis - the "classic" lineup of Gary Chandler, Steve Christey, Martin Orford, and John Jowitt got together to record this, their tenth CD release as an off-shoot of long-time fixtures IQ. Jadis takes on a hook-laden form of progressive rock, emphasizing rock-solid songwriting and arranging and never going off the deep end. For those who find some progressive rock a bit too pretentious in either thematic material or musicianship, "Fanatic" steers clear of both pitfalls, and the result is an excellent album by four musicians who have an excellent read of each other.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Great Outside
A bit clichéd, perhaps - a restrained acoustic slide guitar intro leading into "the big blast" intro - but sometimes clichés just flat-out WORK. "The Great Outside" has it all - the odd time signatures, the steam-gathering instrumental section, but it sure gets the album off to a good start.
Into Temptation
Serving as a good "wind it down a notch" from the album's opener, this song follows a more tried-and-true song construction pattern, and the closing section sounds quite a bit like latter-day Rush.
Each & Everyday
At first, with the drum machine and acoustic guitar strums, it sounds like going into power ballad mode, but the song never gets there. Rather, Jadis go into a richly melodic, sing-along "na na na" chorus line that serves the song most well.
I Never Noticed
Pay close attention to the details, and this song will pay off big. John Jowitt's bass work - specifically, his counterpoint on the chorus - is well-stated, and Steve Christey's drumming is top-notch, explosive in some places, stark in others.
Fanatic
This instrumental title track serves as a spacey, Pink Floydian interlude. The atmospheric keyboards give way to a Gilmour-like guitar solo from Gary Chandler.
Yourself Alone
This song has a Porcupine Tree-like feel to it, but without the menacing edge.
Take These Words
With a catchy hook in the chorus and melodic guitar solo in the middle, "Take These Words" show Jadis' sensibilities, but the 9/8 riff that opens the song is enough to satisfy those among us who like the unexpected curve thrown in with their music.
What Kind of Reason
Starting innocuously enough with a nylon string guitar as the anchor, the song becomes a lush 6/8 lament. "What Kind of Reason" is reminiscent of Enchant's work, but the band smartly avoids pyrotechnics while building in dynamics before letting the acoustic guitar and piano carry the song out.
Who Can We Be Sure Of
A rather upbeat track, the song flips between major and minor modes.
The Flame Is Burning Out
A bonus track, this one shows the band at its most non-pretentious. The guitar packs the punch on this rather short piece.
 
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