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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mark Green

Fantasy Bridge

Review by Alison Reijman

Mark Green is a British-based composer, keyboard player and vocalist who has finally made this his debut album after some recent trials and tribulations, significantly his recent recovery from cancer.  In the mid-70s, he was with vocal harmony group Flame and he was later keyboard player with the Mike Radcliffe Band. He then joined Spirit Level on keyboards in the 80s and then in the 90s, he decided to concentrate on his own studio project where the ideas for Fantasy Bridge began.

That material remained dormant until he underwent successful cancer treatment three years ago. That experience spurred him to resurrect the project. It required another two years’ work to put it together before its release this year. It is a fascinating and sometimes surprising collection of compositions of varying length and styles that all tip their hats to Green’s main influences from the 70s: prog supergroups.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Fantasy Bridge

This kicks off the collection and immediately, there are shades of Genesis, mainly through the Hacket-like guitar of Steinar Gregertson which blends beautifully with Green’s understated synth.

Children Of A Forgotten Sun
Here is the longest track which floats along wistfully. There are some dreamy vocal harmonies and chunky Hammond organ underpinning some deft guitar from Nick Crosby while Paul Fuller’s drumming drives it along at a considerable pace . At the same time the song twists and turns through some keyboard trickery from Gree
Dawn
A lush instrumental groove marks “Dawn” as a particularly satisfying piece, full of charged atmosphere from a swirling synth reminiscent of Tangerine Dream.
Don’t Give Up On Love
This is probably the most puzzling track because after starting as a strong, proggy keyboard-led piece, it suddenly changes tack completely and becomes a pop song. It almost sounds like something from 70s Fleetwood Mac with Green’s voice recalling Lindsey Buckingham while the melody line itself has shades of Starship’s “We Built This City.” It then takes off into a deeper keyboards realm before returning to the sung section.
Endless Ocean
We’re back to some wonderful instrumental work on “Endless Ocean,” with Green’s piano strong, masterful and confident with slightly jazzy overtones before the synth comes in to add further texture to the haunting melody.
Autumn Rain
This is so like 70s Renaissance both in style and content. Green’s voice sounds very much like that of Jon Camp from that band.
Quiescience
The surprise track is “Quiescience,” a short instrumental, on which the fruity sax of Wim Koopman dominates over keyboards and drums.
Together On The Shores of Time
This just does not quite have the “wow” factor of some of the other tracks though there are some shimmering synths worked into the body of the song.
Ode To Joy
Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” is a surprising inclusion but has Green at full tilt on Hammond organ and a range of other keyboards while his wife Sue plays her part on electric violin. It has shades of ELP in its style through Adam Chinn’s rumbling bass and Emerson-like flourishes throughout.
A Day By The Sea
Rounding off is the synthy moody “A Day By The Sea,” which sounds like a description of their home, the English seaside town of Weston-super-Mare. There is almost a Squackett feel to this song and the lyrics seem to pay homage at one point to Simon and Garfunkel. It has a tremendous sweetness which verges on the folkie as well as a rocky edge – very apt for a song about the shoreline.
 
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