Review by Josh Turner
You may be wondering how Spiraling fits into the music scene. That's simple. The keyboardist, singer, and frontman of this band is none other than Tom Brislin. If you're still confused, all we need to do is take a take a trip back in time… In the dawning days of progressive rock, there was a mighty band by the name of Yes. There came a time when they joined forces with a crafty keyboard wizard named Rick Wakeman.
While I may have lost you, trust me, this all relates…The band had much success in lands near and far. Eventually the keyboardist left to seek out his own solo career. To compensate for his loss, the cavalry contracted with an entire symphony orchestra. Since they were a progressive rock band, keyboards were absolutely essential to appease live audiences. So, when it came time for the band to tour, they invited a keyboardist to come along on their crusade. Tom was the valiant virtuoso who traveled with them on this fantastic voyage. If you think Tom was some sort of raw recruit, think again. When the band played Roundabout, Tom cast the spells with the skill of a seasoned sorcerer. This takes us to Transmitter, an astounding album that Tom's both written and produced. The music he creates here is neither progressive nor pop. To be honest, it's somewhere in between. While it's standard on the surface, the music is sprayed with all sorts of symphonic delight. It truly is a dazzling display of exuberant enchantment. This artist has thought of everything and it's quite apparent in the music. Much attention and management has been allocated to every aspect of his art. The mixing, mastering, in general, all areas of the production, are simply superb. As an engineer, Tom detonates every charge without setting off a single dud.
If he didn't already put enough thought into the music, I must point out that the packaging is just about as environmentally friendly as it gets. It consists of a thin cardboard foldout with all the lyrics and artwork neatly printed on each fold. The disc is held firmly in place, not by plastic, but instead by a very stiff sponge. Not only does Tom have skill on the synthesizers, organ, and electric piano, he also does a remarkable job singing. The only areas that call for assistance are the drums, bass, and guitar. This aid comes mostly from the helping hands of Paul Wells, Bob Hart, and J.P. Doherty. To get an idea of the music, many comparisons can be made. The songwriting has an elegance that's similar to bands like The Beatles, The Rubinoos, or Toy Matinee. The pop is potently charged like Owsley, Sugarbomb, or The Churcills. In some places, the music even gets gritty like Foo Fighters, Goo Goo Dolls, or Stone Temple Pilots. The album is highly accessible with loads of catchy melodies, but it should still appeal to progressive rock fans as well. There is no lack of symphonic sweetener. It's like a sugary snack that'll have you bouncing off the walls. It springs, it swirls, and yes, it even spirals, but it never seems to dull or dampen due to the result of repetitive actions.
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.