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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jadis

More than Meets the Eye

Review by Steve Alspach

Progressive music rarely gets more accessible than this. For those who haven't connected with the genre, Jadis would serve as an excellent introduction to prog. More than Meets the Eye is a re-release of their 1992 album, and there is an additional CD of outtakes during those sessions as well.

Jadis specializes in songs that are extremely hook-laden, yet the band steers clear of a lot of the trickery that many find unlistenable. If you're a latecomer to this band or a fan of Marillion (Steve Rothery produced the tracks on the bonus CD, and Jadis was a supporting act on the Clutching At Straws tour), give More than Meets the Eye a listen.

The band on disc one is Gary Chandler, guitars and vocals; Stephen Christey, drums and percussion; Martin Orford, keyboards, and John Jowitt, bass. While disc two features Gary Chandler, guitar and vocals; Trevor Dawkins, bass; Pete Salmon, keyboards; Paul Alvin, Mark Ridout, and Mark Law, drums; and Les Marshall, guitar.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 1 at https://garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2005.

Track by Track Review
Disc 1
Sleepwalk
The song starts off with one of the many simple-yet-memorable guitar lines. The track, even at 7.49, seems a bit unfinished with the cut wrapping up after the bridge - where's that last verse, guys?
Hiding in the Corner
If the band was shooting for a single for radio play, this must have been it. But again, they seem to go from A to B to C without…
G.13
What starts off as a lengthy intro with another of Chandler's infectious guitar riffs, "G.13" turns into a pastiche of ideas that seems to mix into a coherent whole.
Wonderful World
This may be the most Marillion-like track on the CD. Chandler's guitar lines are very similar to Steve Rothery, though Chandler restrains himself admirably and focuses on the melodic structure rather than venturing out into his own world.
More Than Meets The Eye
The flute, keyboards, and arpeggiated guitar lines here are very evocative of some Steve Hackett's more baroque excursions.
The Beginning and the End
The band has been keeping a rather fast rock beat through the album, but this song slows things down a bit and, with its predecessor, shows a little bit of variation on the band's part. Chandler's lead electric lines are very fluid and are also reminiscent of Hackett's electric work, both with Genesis and solo, as well.
Holding Your Breath
The band has apparently run out of things to say - or sing - so they close this CD with an instrumental. The song's sections seem to segue into each other so smoothly that the piece feels much like a 9.45 series of waves - ebbing and flowing, but always blending with each other with no real stops or starts.
Disc 2
This Changing Face
Here is a more commercial offering. Perhaps the band was playing things a bit conservatively when laying down their first tracks, but this is a good showing.
Follow Me to SalzburgDisc 2
This has a slow, slightly dark feel to it. The keyboards are not as layered as on other tracks, and that gives this song a little more air to it. 
Scratching the Surface
It sounds as though at times Chandler is trying to channel Fish's vocals on this one. There is a bit of a similarity in the vocals of the two.
Taking Your Time
This is one of Jadis' slower songs and it was an avenue that Steve Rothery (producer) might have encouraged them to pursue further. This allows for more vocal harmonies and a little more elbow room with chord structure and changes.
G. 13
This is very similar to the version on CD1 - a different mix, perhaps, but there is no real difference in the basic arrangement of the song
Out of Reach
Okay, I'm getting to sense a pattern here - have a 45- to 60-second introduction with a tasty guitar lead before jumping into the first verse. Chandler's hammer-on arpeggios were intact back then, that's for sure.
Don't Keep Me Waiting
Another up-tempo piece with a syncopated beat between the 3 and 4 in much of the song that can throw you for a loop if you don't figure out where the 1 is! The song ends rather quickly, giving the feel that it wasn't really developed much beyond what they had laid down.
In The Dark
There is some lightning-fast keyboard soloing on this one, as though Pete Salmon was trying to out-Banks Tony Banks himself.
Lost For Words
This sounds like a more developed and better produced piece. There is a good balance of keyboards and guitars on this piece
This Changing Face
Again, this is a better-produced and developed version of the opening track on this CD. (In the liner notes, Gary Chandler gives credit for the sound on this and "Lost for Words" to a student recording the band as part of his course work.)
Baboon Enquiries I
A bit of a throwaway - there is some acoustic strumming, and then some strange vocals that are then backward tracked.
The Beginning and the End
This is the lo-fi version. I guess it helps to get it down on tape for copyright purposes if nothing else.
Baboon Enquiries II
More backwards tracking and a bit of Pythonesque silliness are featured on this short closer.


 
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