Lee Speaks About Music… #122

Vanquisher – The Bob Lazar Story



Matt Deacon is back with his project of The Bob Lazar Story and a brand-new album has finally surfaced after a couple of years entitled Vanquisher. The project is also back in full force and I was pleased to see the bass guitarist Mike Fudakowski has once again returned to the fold after 5 years. I particularly missed him on the last album Baritonia more so than on the EP Self-Loathing Joe but along with their power house drummer Chris Jago this is very much one very strong 3-piece outfit.

Vanquisher is the 7th musical release since Deacon and his project arrived on the planet earth and kicked off back in 2006 with the release of the debut album (Sic). That album and the other albums and EP’s that followed have been frying my brains out ever since I caught my first glimpse of a mysterious object flying over here in Birmingham England back in 2017. Upon further inspection I soon discovered that the object in question was a wooden stool, but not just any wooden stool and upon closer inspection I could see it had the remnants of food spattered all over it and had been on many adventures.


The Famous Foodstool

Matt Deacon’s Foodstool took off from his garage in Liverpool, England many moons ago now but its adventures consistently live on and will forever continue to do so. The one thing you are sure to get with the The Bob Lazar Story is consistency all the way and the latest album Vanquisher presents us with the Foodstool’s biggest adventure to date. It’s always good to see a new release and it’s very rare you will get to see one every year apart from a couple of EP’s that got released back in 2014/15. I always get a BUZZ! and certain amount of excitement to hear of a new release from this project and because of the consistency you get with the music it never disappoints. So, let’s take a closer look into the latest album but as ever before we do, let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The CD comes in a very good quality well-made cardboard 3 panel gloss coated DigiPak that comes with a plastic tray with a hub fixed inside to hold and protect the disc. It comes with all the usual linear credit notes printed on the inside of the gatefold sleeve, a couple of photos and the album track listing titles are printed on the back of DigiPak.  Interestingly enough it also contains the reverse side of the coffee mug stain that was used for the front cover of the Baritonia album when you remove the CD from its hub. It’s also meant to be a striking portrait of Matt Deacon according to a recent interview he had with Kev Rowland, on the 12th of this month.

No expense has been spared on this release and due to the fact that I no longer collect vinyl this type of packaging very much appeals to me the most, simply because it replicates a mini version of the vinyl album. The other good thing about DigiPaks like this is that you are always guaranteed to get a gatefold sleeve which is something not all vinyl albums presented you with. DigiPaks like this will even sometimes entice me to buy an album all over again simply because they do look much better than standard plastic jewel cases and give a far better-quality presentation for your albums.

This is an excellent package and for the price of £11.50 inclusive of postage & packaging it really is excellent value for the money. I was also quite surprised to get it for this price being as it’s from New Zealand and was well surprised how fast it arrived too. I guess being that they are now signed up to Bad Elephant Records it’s most likely distributed internationally which is why it arrived so quick. Here in the UK I generally pay between £10 – £12 for a CD that comes in a Digipak so this price fits very well with my pocket.


The artwork was done by Roger Heal @WWGAMINGNZ. Heal is an artist who mainly does artwork for games and a few other things besides and is part of a two-man operation of Whistling Wizard Gaming in Christchurch New Zealand who create game apps for both the Android and OS platforms. Their game Hyper Crimson can be found in the Google Play Store. Art Covers

To be honest with its simplistic design that is very much the trend that is associated with The Bob Lazar Story discography (has you can see in the picture above) I thought that Matt Deacon had done the artwork himself. Though there is a lot more detail in the odd shaped red chilli pepper and it does pop out a bit more at you. All the other album covers are more 2D and flat in comparison apart from the EP The Silence of Perez de Cuellar which does project at you a bit more. Apparently, the chilli pepper on the front of Vanquisher is that shape for a reason and that will only be revealed on the next release.

The Album In Review…

Vanquisher by The Bob Lazer Story was released on the 9th August 2019. The album contains 16 tracks to which 15 of them are all instrumental and the only other track that is not, is a bit of ZANY! fun. The ZANY! and the instrumental side of things have always been a feature of this particular project and musically it can be a bit ZAPPA ESC! and that’s what really ROCKS! my boat about this project too. Deacon describes his music being ProgMathsyFusion and basically that’s down to the fact that the keyboards are programmed with a mouse on a computer and predominately he is a guitarist.

Like many of the albums and EP’s in The Bob Lazar Story discography they do tend to come with a lot of shorter tracks in relation to those over a longer length. The previous 10 track album Baritonia was the first release to feature the most lengthiest tracks, though the longest track in the entire discography can be found on the Self-Loathing Joe EP released back in 2015 and is entitled “Ezekiel II” to which is 8 minutes, 59 seconds. In general, most tracks can be anywhere from a few seconds up to around 3 minutes but what I like is how Deacon can manage to cram in a lot over a much shorter distance and that is very hard to do. Though I would like to see an “Ezekiel III” or even an “Ezekiel I” one day and that was such a GREAT! track.

The album Vanquisher comes with an overall playing time of 39 minutes, 41 seconds making it the longest album in the entire discography and it knocked the 2nd album Space Roots off its perch by just over a minute. I myself am all for the 30 to 40-minute album time slot simply because you can get to play more albums over that time slot in a day. I also always tend to play the older albums of artists in particular when they have just released a new album, and I had no problem playing all 7 releases of the The Bob Lazar Story twice over the other day. That’s something you could never do with many artists albums these days because they do tend to make them too long, especially bands like The Flower Kings who more or less give you a double album worth of material with every release.

The music is credited to both Deacon and Jago and it’s a combination that works really well and has been part of the process for some time now. They both originally met at a Music College in Liverpool, England in 1993 and played a few gigs together back then too. Over the years they both went their separate ways and left England Deacon moving to New Zealand and Jago to America and via Faceback in 2009 they caught up with one another again. Jago can be very busy with the much of the session work, musicals and live gigs he plays in with many different artists. He was even on tour with the singer songwriter Neil Diamond though due to Diamond’s illness that has come to an end more recently.

Basically, Deacon writes the music out and uses Logic to program the drums, he then sends the music over to Jago with and without the drums so he can get to work on it at his studios. Jago throws much of his thing into it and when it comes back to Deacon he will work on some further changes from Jago’s ideas with the drums which is why Jago is also credited to the writing. This short video shows you him working on one of the tracks in his own studios in Los Angeles.

This video and a few others were put out as teasers over the few months before the albums release on The Bob Lazar Story Facebook page. Chris Jago not only is an excellent drummer but he also teaches students and helps produce other bands in his own studios and has gone from playing gigs in pubs all the way to the to making it on the Broadway in New York and has played for many well-known artists and created a very successful career in music for himself.

This video of Chris Jago being interviewed by Dom Famularo in the Sessions Series last year gives you more of an insight into this man’s incredible journey throughout his successful career and is well worth watching. I enjoy this video series a lot on YouTube and have seen many really GREAT! musicians on it and Jago is very much one of them too. He really is the driving force behind The Bob Lazar Story and I guess the music that Matt Deacon presents to him does present him with a challenge and is why he likes being part of it. No doubt you have to be quite a skilful musician and would have had to put in all the hours learning your instrument to play the music that Deacon is presenting here, so now let’s take a look at the musicians and credits.

Musicians & Credits…


All songs written by Matt Deacon & Chris Jago. Mixed by Matt Deacon in A-Town. Drums recorded and mixed at Shabby Road Studios, Los Angeles by Chris Jago. Mastering by David Elliott. Cover Art by Roger Heal @WWGAMINGNZ. Design & layout by Brian Mitchell. Distributed by Bad Elephant Records.

Matt Deacon: Guitars/Mouse/Vocals.
Chris Jago: Drums/Screaming.
Mike Fudakowski (DM): Bass (Tracks 1,2,7,13,14).
Jacob Petrossian: Lead Guitar (Track 7)
Zeke Deacon: Vocals (Track 10).

The Album Tracks In Review…

The latest album Vanquisher in many ways tones itself down a bit more in particular in the electric guitar department and allows the space for for more keyboard work and even the acoustic guitar to put in more of an appearance sort of thing. I am not saying the electric guitar is completely missing and it still is utilised with its driving force. If anything, it’s been toned down in the lead department so it’s not going to bite your head off as much. The other thing I have noticed especially in relation to the previous album Baritonia, is that even though there are 16 tracks on the album it does not seem like a couple of minutes before your up to track 7 already on the album.

But everything of how the album Vanquisher flows and runs along still very much presents itself to you with all the exciting experience and enjoyment you can get out of an album like this. You still get all the odd complex time signature changes, plus all the diversity with the transitional changes that can go in other directions with the music, even over the shorter distance with how many of the tracks are so short. It’s this kind of sophistication that I have always loved about the music The Bob Lazar Story presents to you. In some ways it’s perhaps like being in a taxi going along many routes to get you to your destination, only the driver has got you there a lot quicker than most.

As I mentioned earlier in the introduction it is GREAT! to see Mike Fudakowski a.k.a Fud back and he is without doubt another very talented musician and such a GREAT! bass guitarist. With Deacon being busier over the past few years with his postman job and Fud doing other things was why he was absent on the last two releases. But he’s back now and he plays on 5 of the new tracks on the album.

This video shows you his skills on the instrument and here he is playing along to “Cogs in Cogs“. which is one of my favourite tracks from Gentle Giant’s 1974 album The Power and the Glory. I have to say he’s done a top job playing along to it as well.

The album also features a guest appearance for guitarist Jacob Petrossian who contributes a bit of lead guitar to one of the tracks. Petrossian was born in New Zealand though I think he resides in Melbourne Australia these days, to be honest I have never heard of him before but he was the founder of Christchurch metal band Awakened Inferno, co-founder of Australasian metal project Auraic. I snatched this short tasty video he did a couple of years ago from his YouTube channel of him doing a very tasty job of a solo to Dream Theater’sAnother Day“.

Matt Deacon’s son Zeke also once again contributes some vocals and apart from making all the music for this lot and himself to play along too, the only thing video wise that he’s been doing is eating chillies and it was too HOT! to post here in my review :)))))). So, without further ado let’s get back to the album Vanquisher to see how it has turned out as I take you through its tracks.

Track 1. Pongville.

The thing I like a lot about the music The Bob Lazar Story presents to you is that it can be very adventurous and even a 50 second piece of music like this can say such a lot with how it rolls and motors its way along dramatically. In my reviews in the past of this project I’ve often mentioned how the keyboards in particular that Matt Deacon programs do sound midi-fide especially on the older albums they can very much sound like the 8-bit sort of sounds you would find in old games.

Much of the music presented by The Bob Lazar Story as quite often had me visualising the music being suited to cartoon animation and games such as Grand Theft Auto for example. Some of the music has even had me thinking back to the days of the Tufty the squirrel road safety adds you got on the TV donkeys years ago. Even though the keyboards do sound more like the real thing and more realistic over the past few years, they still today can give me that same association with those sorts of things. To show you precisely what I mean I made a quick video out of 3 free stock video clips to run along to the 50 second piece of music we have here.

Deacon chose the name “Pongville” for the piece which is a reference to a rule in a game of cards he plays every week with some of his mates, he also chose to use the Stinky title in hope that some of his mates would buy the album when it got released. I myself chose the title of “Pongville Somewhere In Pleasantville” for the title of my video simply because the music does have a pleasing and pleasant aspect about it.

The way the music kicks in at the start with Jago’s drums and how quickly the pace is moving along gives you the impression of rushing and driving along to get to work, you can see how busy this opening is with the keys Deacon has programmed and how they are running along and how Fudakowski is working the bass into the piece. All of this takes a mere 14 seconds and when the end of the rush hour is over it makes way for the more free caring relaxed side of things in the day were other people are going about their lives with more of a lazy step or even half step with how the timing moves along at its slower pace, it also almost grinding down to an halt.

All of this gets very well portrayed with how the music presents itself to you, and this more care free relaxed style once again features all 3 musicians doing the business weaving in and out some magic with the drums, bass & guitar lines plus the keys. Then at the 43 second mark it brings in the last piece for the final 7 seconds where it changes its mood and quickens up a bit more to bring to you the conclusion of how so well it’s built up to this final climax. It’s as if it’s unfolding the mysterious object, I put at the end of the video with dramatics here and ends off in style quite an adventurous story. It’s also like it’s telling you a story.

A piece like “Pongville” may only be 50 seconds long but it’s certainly got plenty to say over that short distance. You might be impressed by how well Jacob Petrossian flew across his guitar on Dream Theater’sAnother Day” on that short video clip I posted of him. But I am just as well impressed by Matt Deacon’s guitar lines that are so well executed and blended in with this particular piece. The guitar work is DELICIOUS! and so too is the work by Chris Jago and Mike Fudakowski and they have all done a super job here. This is very much the same fusion you will hear with the likes of Brand X, Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant and many others and is all so skilfully and smoothly done.

With all that’s been put into the the 50 seconds here it’s a damn site more than most songs would have going in them over 5 minutes. You really have to give a piece like this more spins to appreciate and get to hear everything that has been thrown into it. It’s that bloody good that is has to be one of the contenders for the TOP SPOT! on the album.

Track 2. Eleven.

Well by the looks of the title we have here it could look like it jumped the queue so to speak but it was actually inspired from two things. The first being that Deacon cannot stand the series entitled Stranger Things. I have to confess I had to look it up simply because these are the type of series that are found on places like Netflix I never watch myself. I see this particular series in question has a character in it who happens to be called Eleven. The fact the piece is also played in 11/4 was the other reason he arrived at the title here.

You get an extra 1 minute, 5 seconds in relation to the first track on the album and the opening 33 seconds consist of Jago’s drums and Fudakowski’s bass building up the intro and the bass does provide the basis of the main theme whilst the drums keep it in the groove sort of thing. Then the keyboards come in and more of a melodic structure around the existing bass line helps give the piece more of a theme.

To be honest there is far less going on in this piece than the opening track on the album and it does more or less run along in a straight line, it is nicely built up though with the keys and the short stop break in the middle helps, so does the acoustic guitar which nicely ends it all off on the end. Overall, it’s a very cool thematic piece and works well on the album even placed at number 2 on the album and not 11.

Track 3. Eyes Only/Vanquisher.

Next up we have a 2-part piece done over 2 minutes precisely though I pretty sure the first part “Eyes Only” is only a short 13 second melodic intro that leads us into the albums title track “Vanquisher” which is meant to be seen as the battle. To be perfectly honest I had no idea what a “Vanquisher” was or what the word related too and very much had to look it up. The word pertains to a conqueror or a victor who is a person who goes into battle, the sort of person Alexander the Great was when he conquered Greece, Egypt and Persia way back in historical times.

Capture V_Fotor

A Bony Chap

Over the years the vanquisher has been portrayed in many mythical stories in comic books and films and seen as some kind of hero. It’s even been portrayed like this bony looking chap I have pictured above who is known as a Frostbrood Vanquisher. Come to think of it, the name is also associated with a brand of goggles you would use for swimming. I am sure there are many pictures I could of chose to portray the “Vanquisher” that fits to the title we have here including battling heroics brandishing swords and all sorts, and this particular picture I chose does not fit to how I see how the music presents itself to me either.

To be honest I have no idea what sort of vanquisher Deacon was trying to portray here with the music, but for my ears what we have here is another superb piece of work that has plenty going on it. I think the closest I could describe the music here is that it sounds like we have all the fun of the fair going on some magic circus ride with a juggler battling it out on a chessboard. If I could have got hold of a picture like that, I would use it instead of the bony chap we have here :))))).

The whole piece easily works as one piece and goes through a plethora of transitional changes and time signature changes along its path. There is probably more going on with all the twists and turns you get over its 2 minutes here than what you would get in the full 95-minute Vanquisher movie starring Sophita Sriban, Nui Ketsarin. This is without doubt a MAGICAL RIDE! and both Deacon & Jago have worked their BUTT! off on it and it has to be a very strong contender for the TOP SPOT! on the album.

Track 4. Section 8.

Another short piece under the 2 minute mark and just like the opening track on the album this track is more of what you would expect from The Bob Lazar Story and this one is constructed with more of a familiar territory than the opening track with how it’s built up with longer melodic themes that it runs into. Unlike the opening track that is perhaps has more of a pattern play worked into its structure. Though I can easily visualize the same association of how it would fit to cartoon animation and games just as I can with most of the material in the discography of The Bob Lazar Story. It also has that mystical or mysterious way of portraying a space adventure story to you as well with the use of the keyboards and other melodic themes.

The piece kicks off with the drums rustling up the feathers so to speak and drives its force along with both the drums and heavy distorted guitar for all of 10 seconds. The keyboards work their way in the piece like solo spasms where everything else drops out at times allowing them to carve out fine melodic vibes that can reoccur in certain sections throughout the piece. The drums kick back in in several sections with the bass, guitars and keys all working their way in with them. In some parts the electric guitar is even replicating and working a saxophone into it all and there are some lovely acoustic guitar little sections that add melodically all too it.

It’s like building themes upon themes and that has always been a consistent part of this project and this particular piece is more familiar with the material you will find on all 3 EP’s The Silence of Perez de Cuellar. Ghost Of Foodstool and Self-Loathing Joe. I think because the last album Baritonia did try and go down other roads in some respects is why that album took me much longer to get into it. There is a certain magic that weaves its ways along so beautifully in pieces like this, it has the power to be raunchy, powerful, soft and very aesthetically pleasing at the same time. That is what has always appealed to me about this music and why it speaks a lot to me. There is a lot more going on here than meets the eye sort of thing and it’s fused JAZZICAL! combination is purely a sophisticated TREAT! and this is another high contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 5. Project Top Secret.

The title of this next track could very well of inspired me to play practical joke and leave this space blank for it :))))). But of course I could never do that when music has something to say to me, and speaking of how much the music does have to say you would think that with this particular track being twice as long (even more so in some cases) would have a lot more for me to speak about. Well that’s never gonna be the case and every piece of music can present you with something that is either interesting or less interesting in parts and this 4 minute piece may be longer but that’s not to say it has any more put into to it to make it was it is.

Quite often longer pieces can have things in them to stretch it out a bit more, and in relation to many of the shorter tracks that came before this one they certainly did give me more to talk about. Just the opening 50 second track “Pongville” alone gave me plenty to talk about simply because there was more going on in it.

The interesting parts about this particular track can be found within the first 1 minute and 55 seconds of it. For example, the melody line Deacon is playing on the intro with his acoustic guitar does sound like that he has reworked the melody line around the same melody he used his electric guitar to replicate the saxophone on the previous track. I like how it also builds itself up slowly at first and meanders its way along with the drums. Even Deacon’s job on the bass works well along this opening section too with the keys.

Then at the 1:09 mark we get the most interesting part and this does remind me a bit of music that the medieval prog rock band Gryphon did for their magical instrumental album Red Queen To Gryphon Three back in 1974. Then at the 1:55 mark we get this drone that stretches out the track a bit to make way for the more rocked out section. This is perhaps where music does not really go anywhere else and is why it’s less interesting in relation to how it all so well started off. I am not saying it’s a bad track by any means, but for me personally I felt all the magic was contained in that first 1 minute, 55 seconds.

Track 6. Arps.

Too short to be a Gap Filler and at 6 seconds it’s perhaps too short to even be considered as an album track :))). It could be seen as running along into a little break through and at the end of the day it was just a fun little experiment that was effective enough to be included.

Track 7. Ambient Pedals.

Matt Fudakowski makes his 3rd appearance on the album and this is more of a rocked-out track where both the guitar and bass are more or less just pounding out the heavy power chords. Effectively this is more like a track to give to the drummer to beat the shit out of and Chris Jago does that very well on it too. I think the thing that puzzles me the most is the title that was given to the piece. If there were any ambient pedals used on this track, they were either flat or totally dead :)))))). maybe they forgot to put the batteries in the damn things :)))))).

I think the only bit of ambience you do get in the piece was at the beginning with the mellotron and it was that and the drums that I personally found were more of the focal point of interest on this track. It does also feature Jacob Petrossian on lead guitar though the poor chap is hardly getting a look in on a track like this and it’s a shame really because he is a very good guitarist. It’s far from an annoying track and I can easily go along with the flow here, though once again it’s not really saying a lot in relation to many of the other tracks on the album.

Track 8. Randoloftentimes.

Another little ditty that features Deacon alone having a blast on his electric guitar for all of 19 seconds. It’s perhaps more of a common associated thing you always get with this project of his and another little break before the album continues to run along with more of the proper album tracks.

Track 9. Is This Foodstool?.

FoodStool Pic

Well the title begs the question and the answer no doubt is YES! it is. Like I mentioned earlier Deacon’s Foodstool has featured on every release in The Bob Lazar Story discography and on this album, it’s getting a much bigger outing and is the longest track on the album weighing in at 6 minutes, 36 seconds. Over the 7 adventures (including this one) only once did the Foodstool get abused and that was when it landed in Germany back in 2012 on the album Space Roots where it appeared as nothing more than a little ditty just like the previous track. Only it got the organ treatment and was severely upset by the 24 second torture it had bestowed upon it. It was also the one and only time that the acoustic guitar never played a role in giving it the right vitamins to sustain it on its many journeys.

But of course, the acoustic guitar was not the only ingredient that made many of its adventures so adventurous and even though that may have been the only ingredient it got on its last outing on the album Baritonia it certainly got to go down more roads and avenues on other outings. It does on this outing for its first couple of minutes too and in many ways, this could be seen like some of the other lengthy tracks such as the 5th track on this album “Project Top Secret” for example which could be seen as a game of two halves. It’s not too unusual to see the second half being brought in or introduced with a drone either, and some work well for it whilst others could have been done a bit better by applying a bit more thought into the process of it all.

I have to confess that upon the first few listens of this particular track just like “Project Top Secret” it was only really the first half that was speaking to me the most. Though after more spins you can see how this track works quite well for its second half on the acoustic guitar. I think many who are not prepared to give this track more spins will write it off and miss out on the lovely flow and feel you get here with how it all ends off.

I think I should also point out that many of the lengthy tracks in The Bob Lazar Story project could be anything over 2 minutes because it’s those shorter tracks that certainly have a lot going on in them that make them work so well and stand out. It’s like I stated earlier on it’s a very hard thing to do and quite often there is more progression and changes in these smaller tracks than what you will find even in 20 to 30-minute prog rock epics.

I’m not saying that Matt Deacon is not able to sustain the excitement of his music over more time and make them just as interesting over a longer distance, because he certainly has done in the past and there is a track later on I will get to eventually where he does manage to do it superbly. But quite often he will go down the game of two halves with his approach that are over a longer distance and even tracks like “Ghost Of Foodstool” and “Ezekiel II” were very much constructed with that same approach. Only on both of those tracks it was his other half Tanya Didham who added another element to them and kept them interesting in the second half by adding words and a voice. Also not forgetting the voice of David Biedny on the first of those tracks as well.

Effectively that is why those older tracks worked so well and were easier to grab hold of you than this track will at first and will take further listens. I would also say that both of those older tracks are pretty much firm favourites of mine as well and they did merit the TOP SPOT AWARD! on the EP’s they came from too. But I would very much say that “Is This Foodstool?” is a contender for this albums TOP SPOT! and it’s another GREAT! album track.

Track 10. Tony.

A good bit of fun and a very convincing little comedy sketch put across by Matt and his son Zeke. Tony is more than likely still in the woods somewhere in Baritonia;))))). To be honest as daft as a comedy sketch like this might sound being stuck on an album like this, I think the acting skills here are entirely convincing and it’s been very well recorded and captured very well with the recording. I would even go as far as to say the acting performance was worthy of an AWARD. Though not the album TOP SPOT! award and I will leave that to those at the Academy Awards at the Oscars to judge :))))). 

Track 11. Restroom.

Another little ditty and I suppose after all the laughter you got from the previous sketch you might need to relieve yourself by paying a visit to the rest room. Though you might have to juggle your way to get the toilet to take a leak judging by the fanfare the two of them are rolling out here.

Track 12. Goodbye Victor Tripaldi.

There is no doubt many of the titles for the tracks in The Bob Lazar Story project can have some weird yet interesting titles and it often amazes me how Matt Deacon arrived at them in the first place. Though I have seen him at times on his Facebook page touting around for strange titles and many of them do come from suggestions of those who participate. However, the way he arrived at this title is quite a fascinating story and it came about when he happened to notice that one of the admins of the Progressive Rock Fanatics group on Facebook was being abused by one its members who happened to have the name of Victor Tripaldi. Because of all the abuse the admin banned him from the group and Matt just happened to leave a comment saying “Goodbye Victor Tripaldi” and suggested it would be a good name for a band. His comment got over 20 likes hence the reason why the title wound up here.

Goodbye Victor Tripaldi” very much has all the right twists and turns you would expect from The Bob Lazar Story and there is some GREAT! acoustic and electric guitar work from Deacon particularly in the first section and the keyboards he’s programmed also do the BIZZO! Fudakowski is back on bass once again doing a GRAND! job along with Jago on the drums and all 3 are working their magic into the piece. Even though this piece is only 2 and half minutes long it still is a bit like a game of two halves and also has that familiar drone to bring in the second part. Much of the last part is also where they bring down the excitement of the magical ride on the fairground, though the fairground organ does make a comeback as they build it all back up for the climax ending and you can hear Chris Jago’s appreciation right at the end with his one of his screaming YELPS!. It’s another contender for the albums TOP SPOT! for me and this is a ride you would not want to jump off in a hurry.

Track 13. Hooves & Broken Biscuits.

As I mentioned earlier in my review of “Is This Foodstool?” regarding how Deacon can sustain the excitement of his music over more time and can make them just as interesting over a longer distance, and this is a track where he does so MAJESTICALLY! This 4.5-minute piece of work is very much my personal favourite track on the album and merits the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!


The title was chosen by Deacon’s pal KD (stan) Baxter who also came up with the title of “In The Woods With Tony Iommi” for the last album. Though I do think it’s a really good title, I personally do not see it bearing any resemblance to the music we have here, and if anything, the music certainly has more of a seafaring feel about it and is more like travelling on a voyage across the sea. This is the final track on the album Fudakowski plays on and all 3 of them are really progging it out over some very fine cross-styles, it really is a masterful piece of work.

The piece starts off with a choral mellotron which is quite majestic and runs into much of what you would expect with how it meanders itself along for the first 1.5 minutes. it does also remind me a bit of “Ezekiel II” from the Self-Loathing Joe EP here too and in many ways, I wish this piece went on as long as that 9-minute epic too, and it could of also of been an “Ezekiel I” or “Ezekiel III” as well.

Then we get this section between the 1:25 – 2:02 mark that puts me in mind of the sea and does have a Gryphon feel about it. Even Chris Jago’s screams remind me of Brian Gulland from that band. The next section that runs between 2:02 – 3:34 very much puts me in mind of the band Focus and this is really GORGEOUS! stuff the guys are playing so well here. To top it all off they go and raise the notch and deliver a KICK-ASS! ending and boy can these guys play or WHAT! I should COCO! and this track is PURE BLISS!

Track 14. Two For The Rest.

A lovely melodic piece to bring the tempo down from its boiling point to simmer along and cook on a slow heat. This track features some lovely slide guitar and subtle guitar lines from Deacon and it’s a bit like being away on a holiday island soaking up the sun and relaxing a bit over the first 2 minutes and 20 seconds. As it fades down nicely with the vibes of the electric piano it introduces itself again by fading in with an acoustic piano and changes its mood to more of military pace with Jago’s drums switching from a smoother more subtle pace to more of a roll. The guitar introduces another fine melody to drive it home and they both do another excellent job of it.

The title comes from an oft repeated phrase at the at the shipping port where he works as a cargo handler and if the ship has finished loading, they sometimes opt to keep two guys on the wharf and send the others home. It’s another fine piece and one I really cannot leave out as being a contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 15. Operation Full Klinger.

The title refers to an operation plan that Deacon had dubbed the name with; he also told his old work mates of his plan at the time which was a plan he devised so he could get his redundancy from his old job to which the extra-long hours were driving him mad. So, he pretended to go crazy and it paid off for him in the end. It’s the second longest track on the album weighing it at 5 minutes, 31 seconds though 2 minutes and 3 seconds of it are given to what sounds like a whirling flying sorcerer out of control. It also disappears so that you do not get to hear where it crash landed :))))).

The opening 35 seconds of the piece present you with the familiar music you would expect from The Bob Lazar Story and its sort of like you are hustling and bustling along your way through your daily routine. It’s a bit like going along the street feeling happy as Larry sort of thing. Then the following 15 seconds you get this mad rush as if you’ve just spotted something out of the ordinary that makes you want to run for your life away from it, and it’s at the 50 second mark that the out of control flying sorcerer makes it entrance and that sequence runs along up to the 2:53 mark.

In many ways the whirling twirling drone could be seen as overkill considering it goes on for 2 minutes and 3 seconds of the track. But what comes after it really makes up for it all and is enough to not let it annoy you enough and get on your TITS! so to speak. It’s precisely at the 2:54 mark that the music comes back into play and the section that runs from that mark up to the 4:37 mark does have a soft jazz like Focus feel about it, but it also reminds me of “Outside Now” from Act II of Frank Zappa’s Joe’s Garage especially with the way the guitar chords blend in subtly with the vibes from the keys and the way Jago’s drums have that slight echoing ambient sound of his sticks hitting the drums. The final 54 seconds feature a flying 2 counterpart synth solo and as it comes down it all fizzles away the ending off with a solo clavinet. it’s another really GREAT! track.

Track 16. Elvensnip.

Deacon winds up the last track on the album on the acoustic guitar and plays a nice little ditty over 2 counterparts. By the sounds of things, I think by now he’s put batteries in his ambient pedal and got it to work :))))). It echoes its way out very well indeed and puts the album to bed in fine style.


To sum up the latest album Vanquisher by The Bob Lazar Story I would certainly say that I got everything I expected to get and more besides. Sometimes quality comes in smaller sizes and even though many of the tracks on many of the albums and EP’s of this project can be very short, they can still present with you more twists and turns than a cheap garden hose, an handlebar moustache, twisted candy, a classic thriller and aunty mabels knickers rung out with her bare hands rather than a mangle. The music speaks for itself and so do the skilled musicians behind it all.

I think with any album you have to take the rough with the smooth and not every track can be like a bed of roses, it’s also very rare many artists will make a solid album and those are more of the minority in most cases. I also think that no album can be thoroughly analysed and judged by giving them one or two spins either. Many of the rough edges will take much longer to iron themselves out, and if you can give them more of your time you will eventually grow into it and get to appreciate it much more clearly for what it is. The other good thing about all the music in discography of The Bob Lazar Story is that it’s relatively short. So, it should not present anybody from giving an album like this more spins.

Throughout my review here I have thoroughly analysed every track on the album by giving it my uttermost attention and giving the album many spins. I have pinpointed out all the good and the bad points on every track with how they honestly spoke to me. I can see room for improvement on some of the tracks for sure just as well as I can see improvement on the tracks of many other artists albums. I have always used objective criticism in my reviews in a way to try and get the best from the artists next release.

I would even like to think that it was my review of the last album Baritonia with how I felt that it was missing Mike Fudakowski that persuaded Deacon to get back in touch with him and bring him back for this release. But at the end of the day it is up the the artist themselves regarding if they take it into account objective or even subjective criticism in or not. After all any artist should really have the belief in their own music at the end of the day and that is what should matter the most, and my own views are that of one person alone and not how the music will speak to everyone else on that score.

The music behind The Bob Lazar Story is very sophisticated and complex and in many ways Matt Deacon is very lucky to have the likes of both Chris Jago and Mike Fudakowski at hand to call upon. You need musicians of this calibre to even make studio albums like this and they are both highly skilled musicians just as much as he is himself. The album Vanquisher packs in plenty for the buck and my personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Hooves & Broken Biscuits“. “Section 8“. “Eyes Only / Vanquisher“. “Is This Foodstool?“. “Goodbye Victor Tripaldi“. “Two For The Rest” and “Pongville“.


To conclude my review of Vanquisher by The Bob Lazar Story. I personally think the album is not a solid album but one that has plenty of strength with the biggest majority of the material that was written for it. It’s not an album that will suit everyone’s taste in particular with genre the music sits in, and for none musicians who are into more widely commercial popular music they will never see the sophistication of what it takes to make music at this level. But for those who are into prog rock and jazz fusion and are into the likes of Frank Zappa, Gentle Giant, King Crimson, Brand X, Gryphon and many more. I personally cannot see why the music of The Bob Lazar Story will not appeal to your taste.

The music does speak for itself and can say a hell of a lot even over a 50 second piece of music. The music may fit in with all those I mentioned above but it’s also highly original material done in very much the way they present it to you with their own style. This what makes The Bob Lazar Story unique and stand out. It’s why I am very much a fan of this music and I can honestly say that I get a lot of pleasure out of it and why I am always coming back for more.

The Bob Lazar Story has pretty much been consistent with every album and EP in their discography and it does have something I can take and get a lot out of. Albums do not need to be solid and are still capable of giving you plenty in the way of a return of what they cost to buy. and there is plenty of value and satisfaction for the buck I can take from the album Vanquisher. It is without doubt another truly GREAT! album and one I highly recommend you get your hands on.

You can listen to the album for free or even purchase the album in both Digital & Physical formats on Bandcamp here: https://theboblazarstory.bandcamp.com/album/vanquisher

Tony’s Come In Many Human & Alien Lifeforms And Can Easily Be Mistaken…

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Pongville. 0:50.
02. Eleven. 1:55.
03. Eyes Only​/​Vanquisher. 2:00.
04. Section 8. 1:52.
05. Project Top Secret. 4:00.
06. Arps. 0:06.
07. Ambient Pedals. 3:05.
08. Randoloftentimes. 0:19.
09. Is This Foodstool?. 6:36.
10. Tony!. 0:19.
11. Restroom. 0:44.
12. Goodbye Victor Tripaldi. 2:30.
13. Hooves & Broken Biscuits. 4:32.
14. Two For The Rest. 3:49.
15. Operation Full Klinger. 5:31.
16. Elvensnip. 1:33.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #121

Easy Targets – How Far To Hitchin



I stumbled upon a post on Facebook of an album that my good friend Russell Sinfield had recently mastered and the albums artwork drew in my attention straight away. I also noticed that the album was due to be released on the same day and it had a link to the artists website. Having clicked on the artists website I noticed that the new album had not arrived yet, but I decided to have a mooch through his website and I had noticed that he had already released his first album Easy Targets back in 2016.

Having glanced at the artwork for that debut album of his it suddenly dawned on me that I had been here before. It became even more evident that I had been there before when I clicked on the link to his Facebook page to which I had already “Liked” and his YouTube channel to which I had seen the videos before and noticed that I had clicked the “Like Thumbs Up” button already on them.

It can be very easy for me to lose track of somebody with all the music that comes out at a particular time. Facebook alone can be plastered with that much really GREAT! music that there is just no way you could buy and keep track of it all. For me to have liked something in the first place there must of been something about this chaps music I did like, so I decided to go back to his website and give some of the tracks from his album Easy Targets another listen. To be honest there was only 3 of the 12 tracks of the album that you could listen to all the way through on his music page. Upon giving those a blast, I was quite blown away and instantly knew this is one album I have got to have.

How Far to Hitchin is very much a one-man band project of Paul Dews and a project name he chose to go under. It’s quite strange name to choose though he was actually born in the market town of Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England. The name was inspired and comes from an English children’s television program called Gilbert’s Fridge that was broadcast back in 1988. These days he resides in Huddersfield and has for some time now, and he’s also a multi-instrumentalist and one very talented songwriter and musician.

He also has quite a talent in art too and I can tell you that his debut album Easy Targets is quite an AMAZING! album that gave me plenty to talk about. I also would say that it’s an album you need to get your ears around because this is quite a GEM! But before I get further into it and more about the man himself. Let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork as usual.

The Packaging & Artwork…


The CD comes sealed and wrapped in a reusable transparent cellophane sleeve and the CD is housed in a standard plastic Jewel Case which provides good protection and prevents the CD from getting marks and scratches. These days I do myself prefer cardboard Digipaks especially how they can give you the look of a miniature vinyl album and are more appealing. They are also more of the “In-Thing” I would say today in relation to the standard plastic Jewel Case.

I would also say that Paul Dews likes to have a hand in everything and I am pretty sure that he has made the CD himself rather than use a media manufacturing company which can be costly. Especially as many of them will only churn them out at a minimal quantity of around 200 or more in most cases.

It’s something I used to do myself in the past and it makes a lot more sense to do things this way too, especially as it’s not as if you are going to be selling them by the bucket load. I have seen many unknown artists in the past fork out the £300 – £400 to have them mass produced and made by such companies, only for the biggest majority of them to be left in the box and shoved in somewhere like their garage or basement.

To be honest it’s not that much cheaper to make them yourself especially with the cost of the ink and all the materials. But the advantage is that you can knock them out in much smaller quantities so that you are not left out of pocket and your CD’s are not cluttering up your own space sort of thing.

I remember back in the early 2000’s when I was knocking them out for some bands and even my own brother. It was still costing me £3.50 to make one CD. Mind you I was using quality double sided gloss paper to make the booklets and gloss labels to stick on the CD. I also forked out more money for the blank discs too, and only ever used Taiyo Yuden silver discs so that you could not see where the data was burned onto the disc. I dare say that it’s a lot cheaper to knock them out today though and many of those materials have come down in price rather than go up.

There are also a lot of cheaper ways of doing it than I did back then too, but I wanted something you could not tell the difference and looked every inch as good as what you brought from a record store. I think he’s done a very good job of it too.


The CD also comes with a 6-page booklet that contains all the production and linear notes as well as the lyrics and some artwork illustrations for every song on the album. All of which was done by Dews himself. There is certainly a fine ART to everything Paul Dews does, so let’s now take a look at the artwork.


Well no doubt it certainly helps when you can not only be creative in the art form of making your own music, but also being an artist with a very creative mind who can paint and draw comes in handy too. The word ART very much applies to the both sides of Paul Dews creativity and he’s got quite an exceptional very creative mind in both of these creative forms of ART. There is also no doubt that both his music and artwork can draw you in too, and even though it may have been his artwork that originally led me to him in the first place. I would also say that his music alone could also easily do that too.


Besides his music Dews also sells posters of his artwork on his website and it’s perhaps understandable when you have the vision to come up with something like this in the first place and can actually draw and paint it yourself. I noticed that the posters are also the same size of a vinyl album and no doubt the artwork for Easy Targets would pop out a lot more at you at that larger size.

The Album In Review…

Easy Targets by How Far to Hitchin was released on the 9th June 2016. The album comes with 12 tracks to which are all very well-crafted songs and it does not contain any instrumental tracks. It also comes with an overall playing time of 67 minutes, 34 seconds that may seem lengthy and is verging on to a double album’s worth of material. Though I certainly have no complaints here simply because this is one very well skilfully crafted and woven piece of fine ART! that has been so skilfully put together. It does not contain any gap fillers either and is highly addictive and will have you playing it over and over all day long.

Paul Dews describes in his own words that his music has been described as original, slightly off beat and difficult to categorize. He also says that some people think that he’s a bit prog in the same way that bands such as Everything Everything, Elbow, Radiohead and Midlake have been described. But he also goes onto to say that he can be a bit of everything and come across like bands such as Massive Attack, Blur, Young Knives, XTC and John Grant. Whilst at the same time hopefully retaining his own unique identity, and he would describe his own music as Alternative Experimental Art Rock with a twist of NeoProg.

I personally think that the way Dews described his music is pretty much spot on and is a combination of all of that he stated on his website and I could even throw in artists such as Steve Wilson, Roger Waters and The Beatles onto that list and many others too.

Oddly enough just looking at all those artists his music could resemble, the only artist out of that lot I have in my record collection is the one I mentioned Roger Waters. All those other artists have never spoke to me enough for me to go out and buy any of their records. But I have heard the biggest majority of them and the album Easy Targets does cover a range of musical styles ranging from pop, synth pop to melancholic NeoProg.

I would not say that Paul Dews music is like Roger Waters or Pink Floyd for that matter either. But my main reason for mentioning him in the first place is the fact that Dews does throw in a lot of other effects into the pot such as splashes, crashes, feathers in hats, water drops, peacocks and purring cats. He even sticks the kettle on makes a nice cup of tea whilst he’s at it :)))))). Environmental things and such other effects are the same type of things that Waters will often throw into his music and the fact we also get quite a lot of explicit language also reminds me of Waters.

I think the other reason why Roger Waters also springs to my mind is his association with such an iconic album he made with Pink Floyd back in 1973. That album was of course Dark Side Of The Moon and even though the album Easy Targets sounds nothing like that album there is no doubt Dews has crafted this album out of solid material that is highly original and sounds totally fresh with all the elements he has used to make it. I would even go as far as to say that the album Easy Targets is in every way just as interesting and will have you hooked just like that iconic album Pink Floyd made back then. Paul Dews has no doubt created a masterpiece of an album and yet he is hardly known and does not sit on a pot of gold like Roger Waters and the other members of that band.

Pink Floyd certainly broke the mold when they made Dark Side of The Moon back in 1973 and Paul Dews has managed to do it 3 years ago back in 2016 with this album. Albums like this are very rare and hard to beat and come by, effectively they are like those amplifiers where the volume knob goes beyond 10 and goes up to 11 as seen in the Spinal Tap movie. It’s albums like this that are worth their weight in GOLD! and for the life of me I cannot believe he has not received just as much recognition for it.

Dews started work on the album Easy Targets back in 2011 and it was a long process in the making of it. He set up a studio in the basement of his house in Huddersfield and called it Studio One-Seven-Two. To be honest I thought the studio was named after the number of his house but through my research I discovered that it’s approximately 172 miles from his house in Huddersfield to his mother’s house in Hitchin where he grew up. So, I guess he does know how far is Hitchin :)))))).

Considering Dews made the album at his own home its quite a remarkable achievement especially without any other producer onboard either. No doubt many musicians make their own music in the same way including myself especially with how it’s much easier and less expensive to make your own album these days. It’s no wonder that so many are doing such a thing.


Dews is a very skilled multi-instrumentalist and quite a guitarist though he can also put his hands to the keys as well and he’s crafted some really GREAT! synth work for this album. If I am not mistaken the keyboard on that stand is a Yamaha PSR E303. I have one myself as a secondary keyboard. Being a multi-instrumentalist is also giving him the ability to add in a few other stringed instruments such as mandolin and ukulele which are utilized very well on some of the tracks on the album. He also plays flute and throws in the odd bit of percussion including household items, and he’s even a dab hand with a Kettle :))))).

He also played guitar in a progressive rock band in England in the 1980’s called 13th Hour. The band done a lot of gigs in the late 80’s in the south of England and became more of a pop band. In 1982 they recorded a single entitled ‘Stereo Smiles‘ and it reached number 7 in the Melody Maker independent charts. Like most bands they eventually broke up and Dews went off to study Art at Dartington College of Arts in Devon, South England. It was after he got his art degree that he moved to Huddersfield and wrote and played in another Progressive band called Chimera. After that ended, he decided to concentrate on writing his own solo material as a solo artist.

Easy Targets is actually the third solo album he’s written. Though the other couple of albums he wrote under different project names. The first album Belly Button he wrote under the name of Silly Automatic. His second album entitled Almost Everything was under the name of Potdog. Although he was happy enough with the songs he wrote in those earlier projects, he was never really happy enough with the recording to which were both recorded in the front room of his previous house on a combination of cassette porta studios and early digital workstations.

These days he uses Protools for recording and he uses EZ Drummer to do the drum programming. There is no doubt he’s achieving much better results too and he must have an extremely well clever head on his shoulders to be able to churn out something like this album that’s for sure. You can also see he must have a sense of humour with how he has also created a band line up out of his own name :)))))

Musicians & Credits…


All songs written by Paul Dews. Produced, Recorded, Mixed & Mastered by Paul Dews at Studio One-Seven-Two approximately 172 miles away from Hitchen. Cover Art, Design & Graphics by Paul Dews.

Paul Dews: Vocals.
EP Dulsaw: Guitars/Mandolin/Ukulele.
Wes Ladpu: Bass.
Saul Pewd: Keyboards & Midi Keyboard Programming
Ade W Puls: Percussion/Flute/Household Objects/Drum Programming.

Narration by written and performed by Chris Hannon (Track 1).
Narration by written and performed by Emma Gee (Track 2).

The Album Tracks In Review…

In so many ways listening to the album Easy Targets is very much like listening to a concept album with how most of the tracks can run smoothly along and flow so well one after the other. No doubt a lot of thought as been put into how they are all placed on the album too. I would even say that it is a concept album in some respects and the easy targets are the all those things that can confront us throughout life at times and are things that can make us sad or even get our GOAT! up at times. Dews can quite often throw in some tongue and cheek mannerisms along this journey through life as well. Though thankfully no peacocks, cats or even his neighbors were harmed during the making of the album :))))).

To be honest with the many purely GREAT! songs there are on the album it could be like listening to a collection of songs that would make up a GREATEST HITS album. But what I would say is that you have to listen to the album from start to finish to get the full benefit and potential out of it. It’s not like a GREATEST HITS album where you could pick out an individual track to play on its own. There are a few you could pick out for sure, and “Helpless“. “Flowers from Burma” and “Shitbags” you could easily do that with. But the album will have a much greater effect on you by listening to it as an whole rather than playing individual tracks.

With the amount of truly FANTASTIC! songs over its 12 tracks it’s also so damn hard to pick a firm favourite, simply because they are all so darn good. To be honest I also think it would be very hard to pick a firm favourite track from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon because that is also a very well-made album that consists of solid material all the way just like we have here on Easy Targets.

I keep mentioning that Pink Floyd album don’t I. That’s because it is very much an iconic album and a album I could place in one of the four comers of the universe. It takes something very special to hold one of the 4 spots in my universe with all the music I have listened to over the years. Most of the music I do like does come from that decade too and I still very much live in it at times regarding my taste in music. I would also say that it is very rare anything regarding prog rock music that never came out of that decade could ever really speak to me in the same light.

But oddly enough if you were to ask me what my favourite prog rock bands are, Pink Floyd would not even get in my top 5. To be honest they might not even make it in my top 10. But that does not stop any band or artist from making at least one prolific album that could stand up so TALL! that it could reach up into space and find its way on one of those 4 special spots. I am not saying that the album Easy Targets could find its way up there either, but there is something very special about this album and I could also see this as quite an iconic album in the way the music presents itself to you.

It’s certainly one of the most interesting and fascinating albums I have heard in god knows how long, and just like when Dark Side Of The Moon came out in 1973 it presented me with something I had never heard done in that way before, yet it immediately drew my attention towards it. It does not take you long to get into an album like Dark Side Of The Moon and I can quite easily say the same thing about Easy Targets.

Even though both albums sound nothing alike, there is a very special thing I see in these types of albums and very few have been made. That special thing is that in general I myself usually find that it’s albums you have to grow into by giving them a lot more spins that will have the longevity to stay with you for the rest of your life. It’s very rare that an album one can instantly like will stay with you.

A prime example of that would be my Genesis collection. Those earlier albums they made with Peter Gabriel took me way more than a lunch time to get into. As a matter fact even when I managed to get into the albums Trespass up to Selling England By The Pound it took me another decade to get into the last album Gabriel made with the band The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. I took an instant dislike to that album for some reason when it came out and it was not until the late 80’s that I decided to give it another spin. Even then it took me many more lunch times to get into it. But once I had it became my number 1 concept album and it still is till this day.

I still went onto buy all the albums that Genesis made right up to Calling All Stations in 1997 which was made after Phil Collins had left. I guess I was still hoping for the band to do more of the material I enjoyed about the band in the first place back in the early 70’s which is why I hung onto them for so long. I even went out and brought most the band members solo albums though the only 2 that appealed more to my taste were Steve Hackett and Peter Gabriel.

Today I could quite easily throw all the Genesis albums that came after their 1976 album Wind and Wuthering and all Phil Collins albums in the bin. Simply because they went onto make music that instantly hit you in the face that wore off in no time at all. I very much think the way those albums were recorded and the production standards never really helped either. Simply because today they sound completely outdated. There is just no way I could play any of those albums today and they are certainly not stayers that will go with me to my grave like those earlier albums of Genesis would.

I do not think I could ever get tired of playing those early Genesis albums just as much as I could never tire of playing Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of The Moon and some of their other albums they made back then too. Those albums are that special that I have brought them many times over and the 5.1 versions I have of them are my pride and joy. They deserve to put on pedestals and even though I have only just got hold of the album Easy Targets and have no way of knowing what it will say to me after 20 years if I am still here :)))))).

I can tell that there is something very special here though and in some ways I am having the same experience and relationship I had with Dark Side of The Moon back in 1973. and for anything today to do something that special it’s a rarity in itself. Oh, and by the way, the album Easy Targets does not even remotely sound like it came out of the 70’s either. This is what makes it even more special.


The other thing that is so very different with the material Dews wrote for Easy Targets is that even though he’s perhaps more of a predominant guitar player judging by his guitar collection and what very little he has spent on his keyboards. I would say that the biggest majority of tracks on the album are very much more keyboard orientated.

To be honest for any keyboard-oriented music to even speak to me you have got to be doing something very special. Especially when it boils down to songs and not the type of instrumental material that Jean Michael Jarre or Tangerine Dream would of done to which is also to my taste. But as for all that dribble I heard in the charts in the 80’s with artists like Howard Jones, Gary Numan and many others. I would not touch it with a barge pole LOL… If there is one decade, I detested for music it would most definitely be the 80’s and I literally hated it. “Like To Get To Know You Well” not bloody likely LOL.

Though there are also a couple of tracks on this album that do in many ways hark back to that 80’s retro and new wave era. But thankfully some of the other elements that Dews has thrown in such as the percussion in particular prevent them from completely sounding like they came out of that decade. No doubt the fact that we have not got some of the sloppy “Lovey Dovey” lyrics and dribble that many of those artists came out with in the 80’s as well, which also is what makes it much different. If anything, I would say that the album Easy Targets very much sounds like an album from the 90’s and that is very much the decade that it sounds like it came out of.

I would also say that the album Easy Targets will appeal to a lot more than prog rockers just like Pink Floyd’s music will reach out to a hell of a lot more people and is very more widely popular. The ART! is in the composition and this is a piece of well-crafted fine ART! in every sense of the word. The only logical reason I can see why an album like this is not sitting at home in your record collection, is really down to the fact that Paul Dews does not have the many hundreds upon thousands of pounds like those major record labels have to promote the album. It’s also most likely down to the fact that he does not take his music out on the road and play live gigs to even try and gather up a following.

There is no doubt that any musician will get a lot of pleasure out of sitting in their own houses in their own home-made studios creating their own music. They will spend hours upon hours doing such a thing too. But for 99.9% of those who do such a thing and make their own albums in this way, and are not willing to go out and put themselves about a bit more by playing live. They will be dead lucky if hardly any of their albums make it any further than their own front door.

I am not saying that Dews has not tried to go out of his way to try and promote his own music, and it’s even appeared on BBC Radio. But just how many people even bother with radio these days. It’s getting to the point where even the younger generation are no longer even watching TV, never mind tuning into the radio, and for most of the younger generation these days its streaming sites like YouTube that has become their TV.

These days you have to be doing something very unique to get noticed. The 2 Cellos are a perfect example. But I honestly believe that Dews has already made something quite unique but he’s not put himself out enough for it to get noticed. To be honest if I had a quarter of an inch of this man’s talent, I would be out in pubs playing live right now even if I was on my own. At least that way you could put your albums out to more people, even if they were of you playing the part of a whole band. But I am sure many out there would appreciate this guy’s skills on the guitar enough to even buy his albums no matter if they were of solo pieces or if they came with more bells and whistles so to speak.

But of course, that’s easier said than done and there are many just as skilful musicians out there who have not got the nerve to put themselves in front of a live audience and can get stage fright. Genesis first guitarist Anthony Phillips is a prime example of that and that is why he chose to leave the band in the first place. I know that Dews has played live in a band back in the 80’s and I know from my own experience that playing in a band in front of an audience is a lot easier than playing to an audience on your own.

Through my own research the only live videos I could find of him, was of him playing in front of a camera in his own studio. Come to think of it, that is the only way I have seen Anthony Phillips play live lately too, and he was in a studio in a radio station playing some of his own solo pieces on the guitar. It was a case of “No Audience Required” and he never had Phil’s jacket on either :)))))).

Dews only ever posted couple of  live videos on his Facebook wall a good while back and they were not on his YouTube channel. I was that well impressed by them that I got in touch with him and asked him if he did not mind me using them for my review. To save him the trouble of uploading them to his own YouTube channel I told him I could simply nick them from his Facebook wall and upload them unlisted to my own YouTube channel to which I have done.

The video I chose to show here has nothing to do with his own music and is nothing like what you will hear on the album Easy Targets. It’s quite a complex guitar solo that Steve Hackett wrote and originally played live during the encores at the first ever Womad Festival at Milton Keynes which was set up by Peter Gabriel back in 1982.

To be perfectly honest if I heard this piece on the radio and could not see who was playing it. I would swear blind it was Steve Hackett. That’s how well Dews has so precisely executed the piece. I like his sense of humour at the end too when he shows you the real ending, and no doubt that was a very extremely hard piece to play without fluffing it up at some point along the way.

But there is a lot more to this man’s talent with what you will hear on the album Easy Targets and the guitar is not the only instrument he can execute with fine precision. He plays bass like a proper bass guitarist, which is something many guitarists cannot do at all. His keyboard work is well TASTY too though he has programmed some of it, but I dare say he can play a bit too. Oh! and I almost forgot! He also has a GREAT! voice so now let’s get right back on track and get on with the review of the 12 individuals tracks on the album and take a deeper look into it.

Track 1. Resistance Is Futile.

The opening track of the album feels like it has a sense of purpose with its opening spoken words and is as if they are portraying the story or journey that is about to unfold upon us. The opening strings you hear right at the start remind a bit of the intro to Elton John’sSixty Years On” and the opening words also spring to mind how the Moody Blues opened up their 1969 album On The Threshold Of A Dream. Musically the song is structured from the bass line and everything else is built up around it.

Lyrically the words are pertaining to how sometimes we can get in a rut and not want to do anything at all or even care any more. Sometimes we need a stick of dynamite up our ARSE! to get off our BUTT! and go out and do something. I guess those who get into that situation the resistance to do anything about it can be useless with the hold it has on them especially where drugs are concerned and it can very much be their entire world. I am sure we have all been there at some point in our lives.


Resistance Is Futile” is the longest track on the album and weighs in at around 8.5 minutes, it also features the English actor Chris Hannon who wrote the words he’s narrating on this piece. Hannon has appeared in many TV shows and TV movies and is more noted for his roles in The Forsyte Saga, Lunch Monkeys and he’s even featured in 12 episodes of Coronation Street between 2007/08. He’s a good friend of Dews and I am not sure how they met in the first place but through my research I did find out that Dews did take part in a live art theatre piece back in 2011 in which he played the character role of someone who was trying to give up cigarettes and miserably failing.

He also wrote this song to accompany him in that performance back then though he never had any intention of using it for anything else. But afterwards the song grew on him enough for him to further reshape and develop it, and the version here is the end result of it all.

It’s a super way to start the album and the song is very well built up and builds its way up very well to unleash its more powerful chorus. The bass, drums, percussion and vocals are the driving force and the narration and synths work a TREAT! too. There is certainly enough going on here to draw you in or even get you HOOKED! and I suppose you could say that the opening track of the album is quite an ADDICTIVE! starter. It’s also very much a contender for the the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!.

Track 2. Our Friend Is In The Meadow.


As much as this next song sounds so wonderfully pleasant, it takes in the sadness of loss within its lyrical content and it is without doubt so BEAUTIFULLY! portrayed and done in a mellow melancholic and meaningful way. Our friend or friends who are in the meadow is more than likely pertaining to those who fought out in the battlefields and meadows and died on them. It could also relate to all those we have lost in that we get through the loss but never get over it, and with how we hold onto to their possessions and of course those treasured memories of them are never forgotten.

I have no idea where the opening TV or Radio comedy sketch that is used on the intro comes from, but it does sound familiar and blends in perfectly with the ukulele and mandolin to which Dews has so very well plucked out the basis of the song’s main melody in two counterparts. The way he has worked in all the other instrumentation of percussion, bass, keyboard vibes and orchestration all adds very well to the well-crafted arrangement. He even throws in a cuckoo whistle which works wonders too.

The orchestration really helps lift the chorus too as it transcends itself wonderfully along and his voice deliverers these really GREAT! lyrics BEAUTIFULLY! During the break section at around the 3:06 mark Dews works in a rather nice bit of guitar using his ebow on it for the lovely effect. We also get the sounds of the birds and nature bustling and whistling away with the cuckoo whistle whilst Emma Gee recites her own poem and it sits in perfectly with it all, and she has done such a BEAUTIFUL! job of it. For those wondering who Emma is, it’s actually Paul’s partner.

In some ways with how “Our Friend Is In The Meadow” flows so well along with its touch of melancholy. I can even get a Roger Waters feel from a song like this, especially from some of the songs he wrote and played himself back in the early days featured on albums such as Pink Floyd’s 1969 double album Ummagumma and on the collaborative album Music From The Body he did with Ron Geesin in 1970. It really is an excellent track on the album and is very much one of the many contenders along this album that is in contention to win the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 3. Gladhander.

There is a bit of a battle going on with the albums 3rd track on the album and “Gladhander” is very much one of the more synth driven tracks on the album. Musically it’s driven along by a heavy distorted bass line, a sequencer, synths and a bit of distorted guitar. Though the use of a rock drum kit and the orchestrated synth work that also comes into play give it the power to rock out a bit more and also add a touch of drama to it. I suppose in some ways the music gives you the impression that the Gladhander in this adventure is more of a hero rather than the smarmy conniving snake he is. Although the lyrics certainly portray exactly what he is in this modern-day battle for sure.


Just like how the Gladhander is portrayed like a snake in the picture above, there are certainly many of them in the music business and in general such a person can try and get too close and be over friendly in an irritating way. No doubt they are a wolfs in sheep’s clothing and they never have any intention of keeping the bargains they will offer you and are only out for what they can get out of you. It’s another GREAT! song and there are quite a few songs on the album were Paul Dews voice can remind me of David Bowie at times, and they do a bit in the verses on this one.

Track 4. The Peacocks Of Birkby.

There is no doubt that Dews voice and approach to the more melancholic ballad side of things really suit his voice very well. He has that magical way of working both vocally and musically on these types of songs, and the ‘The Peacocks Of Birkby” is another GORGEOUS! song just like we got on the 2nd track of the album “Our Friend Is In The Meadow“. It’s these types of songs that both Roger Waters and David Gilmour done quite well with Pink Floyd before they made The Dark Side Of The Moon back in 1973. Come to think of it, Waters did them better than Gilmour and he had just as good as a voice as Gilmour back in those early days too. Later on, his voice developed into more of a speaking voice.

Though no doubt back in the late 60’s and early 70’s there was plenty of GREAT! bands and artists doing all that GORGEOUS! melancholic stuff. I still love all of that stuff today and music does not have to ROCK OUT! to ROCK! my boat so to speak either. I think one of the most of extraordinary things about this particular song is how Dews has the vision to turn something that makes his blood boil into something so beautiful. The idea for the lyrical content of the song came from where he lives, which is in a district called Birkby in Huddersfield.

The very thing that does make his blood boil is fly tipping, and I must admit it is a common thing everywhere in England where some people have no respect for the environment and dump any old rubbish on the streets to save them the time and money it cost to dispose of their household rubbish through the proper channels. It’s mainly the bigger household items such as fridges, cookers, carpets, beds, mattresses and sorts. Though once people start dumping those type of items in the street you will often find that other people will dump their regular household rubbish there too instead of putting it in their wheelie bins and leaving to for the dustman to pick up.


Just around the corner from his house live a family who keep chickens, Guinea Fowl and a pair of Peacocks, and occasionally the Peacocks escape and can be seen majestically strolling around the neighbourhood. He was particularly struck by the strange juxtaposition when he came across these beautiful creatures as they made their way through some discarded mattresses, bags of rubbish and bits of old carpet. It was one of those days when he really wished he lived somewhere else. In the song he also mentions that he wishes he could be like the Peacocks, and I suppose it’s his way of avoiding all the mess that people leave behind and how they cannot see it as we do sort of thing.

Dews throws quite a lot into this song besides his GREAT! job on the vocals and lyrics which also makes it most intriguing and interesting. For example, on the intro you will hear something that sounds like a stapler, a bell, a cat purring away in content, the man himself making a cup of tea and what I can only presume is a Peacock squawking away. Unless he also has monkeys swinging around the trees in his neighbourhood too :)))))) I am pretty sure these are all sounds that Dews has very much recorded himself and his cat Natty is no doubt content too.

Then we get this sequencer fading its way in, it reminds of the sequence that was used on “Tribal Statistics” which was the opening track of the 1983 album Somewhere In Afrika by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band. Though that sequence does run a bit faster than what we have here. I did ask Paul if he was influenced by their album and if also the tea making idea was influenced from the 1974 album Warchild by Jetrho Tull. Though he assured me he had not heard either of those albums.

After the initial intro to which he also plays a nice melody on the flute towards the end of it, we get this clanging percussion coupled with the acoustic guitar that leads us into the main section of the song and allows him to come in with the vocals. The clanging percussion in particular gives it a Steve Hackett vibe and feel and I am not sure what he’s banging away on, but it sounds a bit like a Koto or the actual strings inside a piano. But it’s most likely something more metallic.

Many of the sounds in the intro including the rather sweet melody on the flute reoccur throughout the piece, and along the build we also get some more really GREAT! stringed orchestration and a lovely bit of bass too. I love the way the song falls out at the end too and this really has to be another contender to win the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!

Track 5. Collateral.

This next track picks the album up the pace a bit more and bangs its way in on the kick drum. The title refers to collateral damage and is primarily a song about man’s inhumanity to man and the foolishness of war is how Dews describes it himself. The inspiration for it came from all the news reports we often get of wars that take place in other countries, and how they always show you the latest bombing raids.


No doubt there are many innocent human beings that get blown to bits in these situations and I love how Dews has gone about the lyrics on this song and how it even betrays how humans can be so inhumane at times to see such as a thing as war being a cool thing.

Musically this song features plenty of guitars including slide, bass, bass pedals, synths along with its thumping percussion and drums. It does sound like something bands like Duran Duran and Depeche Mode would have done and is more like a classic pop song. Though not so much from the 80’s and I also think it’s much better than anything both of those bands could write to be honest.

It’s another really GREAT! song that drives along very well and lifts up very well with its chorus and is like a contrast of dark and light. It’s got quite a pumping bass line too and a touch of a continental flavour with the piano sound in particular which reminds of the type of piano you would hear in bands like Abba and on the theme music to the TV Series the Persuaders. The slide guitar in the solo gives it a touch of the east and you will hear it all in the video above.

Track 6. Push.

Another lively song that could be seen a pop song, though even with how it’s more keyboard orientated with its sequencer, synths and pads, the guitars and the vocals give it more of a cutting edge to rock it out more so it’s not so much like a song that would hark back to the 80’s.


The opening lyrics has me in hysterics and it makes me laugh every time I hear it. Dews has a really good way of doing vocal harmonies and double take vocals to support himself, and there are times in this song where he reminds me a bit like Suggs the singer out of Madness with his expression.

Push” is the shortest track on the album and weighs in 20 seconds less than the previous track at 4 minutes, 5 seconds. The lyrical content is very much about what the title suggests and are about pushing oneself over the edge or too far that you fall back into yourself sort of thing. It’s another really GREAT! song and Dews can write just as well interesting pop songs as he can with any other genre and the way the tracks have been so well placed on the album, it’s tracks like this that can not only help in picking the album up a bit more, but give you that bit more excitement in how they immediately grab you.

Track 7. Grief Mining.

The album tones itself down with a darker mood for this next track. The subject matter of the lyrics pertains to those spiritual mediums who claim they have the gift to get in touch with those who have passed away to the other side so to speak, and how they make money from desperate grievers who feel the need to try and get in touch with their lost loved ones.

It’s a song that gradually builds itself along at a very slow pace and weaves its way along to its more powerful ending. It also has a bit of a Peter Gabriel feel to it in particular with the bass, keyboards and percussion, though vocally Dews does sound a bit more like David Bowie here in parts again, and a vocoder like effect has been applied to his voice.


The saw-like synth and keyboard orchestration provide the haunting drama of it all. There are some really good transitional changes towards the end which allows the song to open up for its more powerful ending where he brings in the drums and guitars to rock it up and belt it out. It’s another excellent piece of work and GREAT! album track and very much another contender for the albums TOP SPOT AWARD!.

Track 8. Helpless.

As I mentioned earlier regarding how it was so damn hard to pick a personal favourite track with all the quality written material there is upon the album Easy Targets. But I think everything about this song is so damn perfect with how well Dews has not just done the arrangement, but everything about how it builds up and how it flows along. Yet like many songs its quite simple with how it was basically structured with its chord arrangement and how it was written on the guitar.


Listening to the unplugged version with just his voice and guitar you can still hear how good this song really is, and there is no doubt that many people would spot how good this song was a mile off with how he can perform and put it all across.

But with all the other elements he’s thrown in the pot on this studio version and how it’s so skilfully arranged, you will soon hear how everything about this song Reeks of Perfection. The arrangement is purely STUNNING! and so many magical influences just pop right out of the woods every time I hear it.

In this song I hear David Bowie’sSpace Oddity“. The Moody BluesNights In White Satin” and Crosby, Stills and Nash harmonies. Yet it’s all highly original material and his own. It’s one of the most BEAUTIFUL! songs on the planet, even if the lyrical content is touching on the sadness of how a loving relationship can be broken down by depression and mental ill health leaving us in a helpless situation.

Dews describes the word “Helpless” in every sense of the word with his GREAT! lyrics in this song, everything he has embellished around the acoustic guitar and his voice is purely magical and caresses the song with LOVE! The orchestration, bells, bass lines, synths, piano, drums and the GORGEOUS! flute solo in the break all contribute to lift this song up with JOY! and get us through the pain of it all. It is without doubt very hard to pick a firm favourite track on this album, but this song touched my heart enough for it to merit the albums TOP SPOT AWARD.

Track 9. Flowers From Burma.

This is perhaps the song on the album that potentially sounds something more like a throwback to the 80’s with its retro synth style and new wave feel. Even the bottle like clanging percussion cannot really prevent it from sounding like something that came from that decade either.


The other thing this song does have in common is that you can see its hit potential straight off the bat and in reality, I could see this song along with “Collateral“. “Push” and “Shitbags” being pop chart hits. Though no doubt a couple of them may very well have been banned from being aired on the radio due to the explicit language. Though this song is not explicit like the other 3 I mentioned. It’s most likely why it got played on the radio too.

But what saves me from disliking a song like this is once again the lyrical content and there is an irony to them. they are also quite humorous with how he ridicules war. But musically this song is very much like all those synth orientated songs that came out in the 80’s. Though it does have quite a jolly bouncy feel to it all and in some respects even though it’s more keyboard orientated, the fun side of it can make it feel a bit more like what bands like Men At Work and many others and it really is another GREAT! piece of work and well worked out song.

Track 10. Shitbags.

I have to confess this is the most hilarious track on the album and has me in STITCHES! every time I hear it. I cannot stop singing it either it’s that addictive and funny. I personally think a song like this would not have a problem smashing into the top 30 of the UK’s single charts just like Pink Floyd’s single release of “Not Now John” from their 1983 album The Final Cut. Though just like that song it would also be banned from radio air play without a doubt :)))))).

Shitbags” is very much more of a ROCKER! of a song and tackles those niggly annoying things that can cause a rift or even a war between neighbours with the subject matter here. Oddly enough it was only last year I seen a couple of series appear on the television about how neighbours can be at loggerheads with one another, even up to the point of them wanting to literally kill one another. This would be the perfect song for those series to use for their main theme, especially how some of the irritating habits they have done can force one to think that even the fact that their neighbours habits of existing and breathing can get on their TITS! so to speak :)))))).


I have no idea if Dews got the idea for the lyrical content from such TV programs or a real-life crisis. I do know that he is currently in the process of moving house again and he’s off to the Orkney Isles off the coast of Scotland which is even a lot further away from Hitchin. But whatever inspired him to write the song, there is no doubt he has done an all-round solid job on both the music and lyrics.

In a way a song like this can also be a sort of anthem and such songs I could of easily of BLASTED OUT! and annoyed the neighbours by doing such a thing back in my more careless free youthful days. One of those songs I remember doing such a thing with would have been Saxon’sPlay it Loud” from their Denim and Leather album back in 1981. Though that was a song about playing your music loud to give your neighbours hell rather than neighbours who throw cigarette butts in your garden and attack your privet hedge and have no respect for your property.

Though no doubt I have had neighbours that I have not got on with in the past, but basically, I was the nuisance and not them. These days I do have a lot more respect for my neighbours and the only way I could BLAST! this song out is in my Cans and not through the speakers. But even then, I cannot help singing along to the chorus and my wife very much reminds me that I had better not play that through the speakers LOL. “Shitbags” is another contender for the TOP SPOT on the album and I just LOVE IT!…

Track 11. Sick Little Monsters.

Another excellent album track and the lyrical content here is about those who get some form of entertainment out of watching someone else die. I suppose in a way this could apply to those who like to watch snuff videos that can be found on the internet or other things in the media such as war for example. Basically, it’s criticizing those who get a kick out of the sadistic things that go on in this cruel world and makes a plea for them to do something about it and reach out and help.


Whoever the sick little monsters are in question here that Dews is describing those words he recites over a few times at the end of song having buried deeply into my mind for me to want to sing them, and quite often I will utter the words “you sick little monsters” at some of those bastards in power when I glance at the news.

Once again this is a very well-constructed and built up piece of work with a wonderful arrangement that features some GREAT! synth work and the lead break on the synth in particular is very much like Pink Floyd’sWelcome To The Machine” that can be found on their 1975 album Wish You Were Here. The song itself has both a Roger Waters and David Bowie feel about it, and the percussion can remind me of Peter Gabriel. I love how the acoustic guitar sheds some light into the darkness here when it comes in around the 1:10 mark. and once again there is some lovely orchestration in the piece.

The song tale spins into the final track on the album and is another song that is another contender for the albums TOP SPOT!

Track 12. Secateurs.

The final track on the album was inspired from Dews visiting his parent’s house in Hitchin on a warm sunny spring day to which he was doing a spot of gardening with his father. The sound of them both clipping away the dead foliage inspired the rhythm and he describes all the fond memories of what he got to see on that beautiful day in the lyrical content here.

T12 C

Musically the song starts off and flows along in a dreamy mellow melancholy style with the dreamy scape and acoustic guitar he’s used to support his voice portraying the day’s events. It gradually build its way along and introduces a few other little nuances along the way a few vocal doobie doobie doo’s. The flute enters into the equation wonderfully and it picks up nicely around the 4;26 mark where the drums swings into action and is accompanied by some really excellent bass work and a touch of orchestration on the keys adds well to it all to drive it home very well indeed.

It’s another really GREAT! track and has a bit of Pink Floyd feel to it. It also rounds off the album wonderfully and puts to end one truly MAGNIFICENT! album.


To sum up the album Easy Targets by How Far To Hitchin. There is no doubt in my mind that Paul Dews has created a very special body of work with all the material he has written for this album. He has somehow managed to craft out a very unique and very special album that will be very hard even for himself to beat. To be honest I doubt if he could ever come up with another album like this even if he tried for the rest of his life.

But then again even from listening to some of the songs he wrote before or around the same time he was working on this album. It’s easy to see that he is such a GREAT! songwriter and a guy who has a GIFT! and the right skills to weave out MAGIC! Both his songwriting and arranging skills are without doubt works of ART. Everything about Paul Dews is a work of ART including his album covers. The album Easy Targets is a form of ART ROCK and even though the album does have a few pop songs along the way, the ART! is how they have been placed on the album.

I do feel to get the best out of an album like this you will have to play it from start to finish. I also feel that the album was designed to be listened to in its entirety too, and that’s how an album like this can effectively work so very well even with the odd pop song on it. It’s very much like a concept album and to get the full benefit out this album you will have to treat it like one and play it through its entirety to reap the full benefit and pleasure an album like this can present to you.

For example out of the 3 of the 4 songs I consider on the album to be pop songs “Collateral“. “Push” and the “Flowers From Burma“. Would not have enticed me to buy this album at all, whereas “Shitbags” would have certainly made me investigate the album more regarding the 4 pops songs there is on the album. I am not saying that they are bad songs either, but they are very much the sort of keyboard orientated songs that would speak very little to me if I was to hear them individually on the radio on their own.

When listening to the whole album they speak to me much more and I can appreciate them more with how they work with the rest of the tracks on the album. They are also tracks I would not skip either, simply because every track fits so well together and it’s as if the album is a 12 piece jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces fit perfectly together to make it up. It is without doubt a very special unique album and one that I have not come across in donkeys of years. Everything I have stated in my review here is exactly how I see the album Easy Targets.

My personal highlights from the album are as follows: “Helpless“. “Our Friend Is In The Meadow”. ‘The Peacocks Of Birkby“. “Grief Mining“. “Sick Little Monsters“. “Shitbags” and “Resistance Is Futile“.


In conclusion I would say that the album Easy Targets by How Far To Hitchin is an album that has the ability to draw you in just like Pink Floyd’s iconic album The Dark Side Of The Moon can easily do. I would not say that the album Easy Targets is prog rock to which Floyd’s album certainly is more attached to that genre. But Pink Floyd are not all about prog rock and that is why their music appeals to a much wider audience and why they are far more successful than most prog rock bands. You are not going to get soaring atmospheric guitar solos like David Gilmour which is what makes that band stand out a mile either.

In many ways the album Easy Targets is deprived of guitar solos if anything. It’s an album that does not need guitar solos to reach out and grab you to warm and draw you to it. It works itself upon you in its own unique way and even though you will hear many influences from many other artists along its path. They are not necessary artists who are associated with prog rock.

I do hear some Roger Waters and Pink Floyd in small parts. I even hear the odd glimmer of percussion you would find on both Peter Gabriel’s and Steve Hackett’s albums. You may even get a slight touch of The Moody Blues. But you will also hear artists who are not really associated with prog rock at all such as David Bowie. Radiohead and many others.

But what you will hear more than anything is Paul Dews. Simply because the way he has gone about everything is so different just like Pink Floyd went about things differently when they made that iconic album Dark Side Of The Moon and that is what makes this album so special and unique in his own rights and even more so original. This is an album that simply has to be HEARD! and is quite a GEM!

You can listen to the album for free on Spotify here : https://open.spotify.com/playlist/71rpRIp2iKyN0T7CCFAd2f#_=_

Alternatively you can purchase the album in the form of a Digital Download for £7 or on CD for £10 from the official website here: http://www.howfartohitchin.com/store

I Am Sitting In The Dark, But I’m Not Hiding From You…

The album track listing is as follows:

01. Resistance Is Futile. 8:31.
02. Our Friend Is In The Meadow. 6:09.
03. Gladhander. 5:40.
04. The Peacocks Of Birkby. 5:15.
05. Collateral. 4:25.
06. Push. 4:05.
07. Grief Mining. 5:11.
08. Helpless. 6:54.
09. Flowers From Burma. 4:48.
10. Shitbags. 4:44.
11. Sick Little Monsters. 5:45.
12. Secateurs. 6:08.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 10/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #120

The Seats In My Car – Steph Casey



Well it’s a been a good 6 years since the release of Steph Casey’s GREAT! debut album Whisper & Holler, and now she’s finally back with her latest album The Seats in My Car. This New Zealand sensation I stumbled across on Soundcloud back in 2012 back in the days when I used to upload some of my own music on their myself. I am pretty sure I got to know of her and her music via another well talented songwriter and artist namely Gary Sunshine, the very guy who was in the American rock band Circus of Power many moons ago. It was around 2012/13 that Sunshine himself was collaborating with Casey on a couple of the tracks that also found their way on her debut album that was released back in 2013. I guess since I stumbled across both of them on Soundcloud I have very much been a fan of them both ever since.

Back in 2013 Casey caused quite a stir in her own country when she released her debut album Whisper & Holler, the album even went straight to number 4 in the NZIM Charts and sparked off a good few international reviews too. She even picked up the People’s Choice Award when she played WellyFest at the Wellington regional folk festival in her own country. 2013 is quite a while ago now so just what has Casey being doing for the past 6 years?

Well everything may of appeared that she had booked herself a ticket on the Stardom Express to SUCCESS! all those years ago, and was going to be the next big thing since sliced bread. But things are never that easy and I am sure that Casey never had any delusions of grandeur herself either. But there is no doubt in my mind she is one really GREAT! songwriter who cannot only hold herself up in a live performance, but hold her head up high just as many of the GREAT! songwriters on this planet can and she is well worthy of every bit of recognition she gets.

Most musicians in this world find it very hard to make a living out of music alone these days, and Casey is no exception and has to put food on the table somehow. Her job as a Graphic Designer is her way of earning a crust and she puts in the time when she can to make music. Over the past 6 years she has spent most them doing that and doing quite a few live gigs over those years too. I am pretty sure she even moved house at some point too and if I remember rightly, she had to downsize from the house she was living in at the time. Writing good songs is never easy and over those years she had written quite a few songs, many of which she never considered good enough for her next album.

This video of her being interviewed at the 13th Floor will give more of an insight into just what she has been doing over the past 6 years. It also includes some really GREAT! stripped down live performances of 3 of the songs in the studio from her latest album The Seats in My Car accompanied by Alan Galloway who does a smashing job on the electric guitar blending in some lovely touches that support the main chords played by Casey on the acoustic.

Steph Casey may very well be an unsigned artist in that she is not tied or signed to a record label but she still does a good job at promoting herself including getting up early to appear on breakfast time Television. A snippet of the video from her single release of “At a Bar Downtown” was even included on the Official NZ Music Charts TV Station on the feature they call “Ones to Watch” and even after 6 years she is still very much recognised for her GREAT! song writing talent. So, lets dive into the review of her latest album The Seats in My Car but before we do let’s take a look at the packaging and artwork.

The Packaging & Artwork…

CD Art

The CD comes in a standard Jewel Case which do a well adequate enough job of protecting the CD. I must admit these days I prefer cardboard Digipak myself but I can understand unsigned artists saving the pennies and after all it’s not like they are going to be selling them by the bucket load. It’s just as well that Casey does go out and play live and live gigs are the best place to be able to shift a few of them. The CD also comes with a booklet with all linear and credits plus the lyrics. Well I am presuming it does by looking at her last CD I purchased Whisper & Holler pictured below.


I only have the download of her latest album at the moment and that is all I could afford right at this moment, but shall eventually send for the CD simply because I prefer physical media. But even if I had the money this week for the CD it would not get here for at least a couple of weeks and it would hold up getting this review published. But when I have the CD, I shall replace both of these pictures with a picture of it.


The artwork was done by Beetroot Creative which is Steph Casesy’s own Graphic Design Company so it was all done by herself. She has done album cover designs for other artists besides doing Branding/Print/Web/ and Illustration designs for many other clients. It’s quite a handy job to have and no doubt she’s done a good job of it too.

The Album In Review…

Steph Casey’s second album The Seats in My Car was released on the 26th July 2019. You can certainly see that Casey has struggled to come up with more new material just by glancing at the fewer tracks and the lesser overall time slot of the album. As a matter of fact, you would have to go back to the 60’s and 70’s to get an albums worth of material over this short distance, and today they would perhaps be regarded as mini albums or EP’s (Extended Play). Though even I myself prefer those old time slots in relation to having an album that’s done over twice that distance or more and is filled with some gap fillers.

The new album contains 7 tracks and they are all vocal tracks even though one of them does not really have any lyrics, and the overall playing time is 30 minutes, 24 seconds. Just like Casey’s debut album her new album was once again recorded at The Surgery which is Lee Prebble’s studio in Wellington. New Zealand who also recorded and mixed the album. Casey along with her new guitarist Alan Galloway produced the album. Galloway has been playing alongside Casey at many of her live shows for the past 5 years now. and the combination really works well.

Rec Room 2_Fotor

The Surgery

Just like her debut album Whisper & Holler the album is very well recorded, mixed and produced and has been professionally mastered by the same mastering engineer Mike Gibson at Munki Studios which is also in Wellington. New Zealand. It really does sound GREAT! too and no doubt you are getting genuine quality here for the buck. Casey also decided to record with a completely new line up of musicians for her latest album The Seats in My Car and has gave the album a bit of a different sound. More about that in a bit, but first let’s take a look at the musicians & credits.

Musicians & Credits…

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All songs written by Steph Casey. Produced by Steph Casey & Alan Galloway. Recorded and mixed by Lee Prebble at The Surgery Wellington. New Zealand. Mastered by Mike Gibson at Munki Studios. Cover Design by Beetroot Creative. Photography by Leigh Wallace.

Steph Casey: Vocals/Acoustic Guitar.
Alan Galloway: Guitars/Keys.
Murray Costello: Bass.
Caroline Easther: Drums.
Charlotte Kerrigan: Piano/Backing Vocals (Track 5).
Hanne Jostensen: Backing Vocals (Tracks 2 – 7).

Additional Musicians:
Alan Norman:
Hammond Organ (Tracks 2 & 5) Accordion (Track 2).
Tim L Brown:
Weissenborn Guitar (Track 5).
Emily Clemett: Trumpet (Track 2).
Annette Esquinet: Backing Vocals (Track 5).

The Album Tracks In Review…

There is no doubt the new line up of musicians has given Stacey a bit of a different flavour and sound in comparison to her debut album. Whereas the material on Whisper & Holler had a mixture of indie tracks and was on the folky side of things, the folky elements have disappeared to make way for more of an indie and country approach and feel with her latest album.

To be perfectly honest her new album The Seats in My Car does have a lot less in the instrumentation department to which many of those elements of instrumentation that was on her debut album added a lot of quality to it. I also felt they gave her a lot more air and space to breath in, in some respects too, and projected much more of a dynamic range. Though the dynamics are not lacking here that’s for sure and this album has also been very well recorded.

The new album is perhaps more of a standard band line up with its more familiar instrumentation of guitars. keys, drums and vocals. Gone are the cello, violin, mandolin and banjo to make way for a more stripped-down outfit. I think in many ways it would also make it a bit easier to get everybody together to go out on the road and play live too. So, this more stripped-down line up was perhaps more of a sensible move and something Casey may have envisioned to make it a lot easier to go out and perform live. Though I am also quite sure she is well capable of even performing her songs live acoustically on her own too. It could also so be that she wanted a newer sound for her new album, and by changing the musicians that is a very good way of achieving just that.

But even with the new sound the album The Seats in My Car will present to you, there is no denying that both Stacey’s voice and her song writing still very much shines through and is still distinctively recognisable and once again she has some really GREAT! musicians behind her. So now let’s dig a bit deeper into just how well her latest album has turned out as I go through all the tracks on the album individually.

Track 1. At a Bar Downtown.

The album kicks off with the song that Casey released as a single a few weeks before the album release. In some respects, the way the song opens up on the acoustic it’s a bit like “Nice to Almost Know You” from her debut album. After the first verse the drums and the rest of the band kick in and it takes it somewhere a bit more along the lines of something Neil Young might do with some of his GRUNGE! guitar. Only Alan Galloway’s swelling tremolo bit of grunge is not quite as heavy but quite effective.

The other well effective feature on this particular track are the backing vocals, and oddly enough none of the 3 people who are credited for backing vocals on the album are mentioned in the credits on this opening track. So, I can only presume they was done by Casey herself and they have been very well mixed to good effect. Caroline Easther does a GRAND! job on the drums on this song too and I love the subtle and punctuating way they support everything here.

An official video was also put out for the song and the animation, filming and video editing was done by Manan Fredriksson. The bird illustrations were done by Casey herself to which Fredriksson animated.

I think overall “At a Bar Downtown” is quite a good song and was the obvious choice for a single release from the album. However, I personally do not think it’s in the same league as the song that kicked off her debut album “Nice to Almost Know You” and it does also feel a bit cluttered and compressed in relation to that song. I also thought the video for that older song was much better too. No doubt Galloway’s effective grunge soaks up quite a lot of the space here and it is perhaps to be expected.

To be perfectly honest I think Galloway has done quite an excellent job on some of the guitar arrangements on many of the other songs on the album, and on this particular track he has even played more of a minimalistic role. I would not entirely say that he has drowned everything out either and you can still hear the acoustic guitar, drums and backing vocals shine and cut through very well in the mix. However, if Murray Costello is playing bass on this opening track it’s certainly not noticeable, though you can hear Charlotte Kerrigan on the piano now and then supporting the chords.

I have to admit than when I first heard “At a Bar Downtown” it did not instantly grab me and it took a few more spins to get more accustomed to what I was hearing here. The one thing I picked up straight away and noticed on many of the songs along this new album, is that her voice still sounds GREAT! but it’s not projecting the clarity on this song and few others that you could hear quite clearly on her debut album Whisper & Holler.

I would not say her voice has changed over the past 6 years and it’s still very expressive and she does a fine job on this album. Though I do feel you will need the lyric sheet to catch some of the words that project out of her mouth at times, and that is something you would not need at all on her debut album. But that’s certainly nothing to complain about one bit, and I could name thousands of artists whose voice at times you would need the lyric sheet to understand them, including Elvis Presley singing “King Creole” which is just one example. “At a Bar Downtown” is quite a good song just like I said and there is plenty more to tantalise your taste buds along this GREAT! album.

Track 2. The Tale of Hannah Mae.


I remember Casey performing this song live on her own in her living room a couple of years ago back n 2017. She posted it on Facebook and it instantly had me thinking back to songs like “The Ballad of a Well-Known Gun” that Elton John did back in 1970 on his Tumbleweed Connection album. It was the songs title and lyrics that made me think of that particular album of Elton’s and it’s got a Western feel about them and draws a picture in your mind of being in some dusty town back in the wild west. Bernie Taupin was also fond those old westerns which is why quite a few songs about the wild west featured in some of Elton’s songs.

This particular song has more of a brighter and up key feel in relation to some the music Elton did write for Taupin’s lyrics about the wild west and they were mostly down key. Though I am pretty sure Casey is playing minor chords such as A minor and D minor for example. To be perfectly honest they both float my boat with the way they approached their own songs and this particular song of Casey’s is quite a firm favourite of mine and up with her best with how so well it’s put across and the lyrical story she wrote for it. Which is about a murderess who murders both husbands she married in revenge for the way they treated her.

There is also a lot more going on in the musical department on this song and it sounds DELICIOUS! for it. The addition of the trumpet played by Emily Clemett is very effective and works a TREAT! So too does the accordion played by Alan Norman who also contributes a bit of hammond organ on this track too. Listen to Galloway’s lead guitar during the break that comes into play around the 2:18 mark. It all adds up to the big Western sound and everyone is doing a GRAND! job on this song and it’s very much my personal favourite track on the album and merits my TOP SPOT! of the album award.

Track 3. Old Love.

Next up we have the longest track on the album and it comes with a familiar title that is also used for a GREAT! song of Eric Clapton’s. But no doubt I dare say the same title has been used for many a song. This is Casey’s favourite song on the album and I can see why because it really is GORGEOUS! It’s also a song that allows Alan Galloway a chance to let his guitar rip towards the end with a very TASTY! long guitar solo. Lyrically the words are more along the lines of one of Casey’s personal relationships, and that is what the name of the song and lyrics are pertaining too. The words to the albums title can also be found in this song and I suppose in some way it could be seen as the albums self-titled song.

In some ways Steph Casey can remind of both Sheryl Crow and Tracey Chapman when it comes to writing really GREAT! songs, and just like both of those artists she has got what it takes. I guess that’s what I seen in her regarding her many GREAT! songs and why she appeals to my taste a lot. “Old Love” is another firm favourite song of mine that is up there with the best of her fine songs. I could quite easily give this song the TOP SPOT! on the album just like I did with the previous song and it is without a doubt a very strong contender for my personal TOP SPOT! on the album.

I love the way that Stacey holds her voice around the 4-minute mark too. She did it so well live too when she was only accompanied by Galloway at the 13th Floor performance and really gave it her all. The whole band are doing do a CRACKING! job on this studio version and it really does sound GREAT!

Track 4. Long Drive.


Another totally GORGEOUS! song on the album and yet another truly GREAT! song that could also be in contention to grab the TOP SPOT! on the album. I love the airy folky country feel of this song and this song does have the dynamics air and space like many of the songs did have on her previous album. The combination of the acoustic and electric guitars works a real TREAT! on this song and no doubt Galloway’s excellent guitar arrangement on the electric is what gives it that country feel. Some of the sounds he’s getting out of his guitar takes me back to Sandy Denny’s 2nd album Sandy she done way back in 1972.

The mix is to die for and sounds excellent and it has a really GREAT! chorus that has a lovely slight delay before it comes into play. Stacey expresses her voice beautifully on it and Galloway’s touches on the electric and the wonderful counter melodies he’s put in to end the song off work really well too.

Track 5. Gathering.

Well you could call this an instrumental track but it does also have a very fine voice that works very effectively even if there is no lyrics here. Stacey and all the backing vocalists on the album contribute here and do a SMASHING! job. Once again, the guitar arrangement is wonderful and Tim L Brown also contributes guitar on this track too and the bass and drums support it very well indeed. It’s another really GREAT! album track and even has the ability to speak to me without words.

Track 6. Hold On.

The shortest track on the album and another fine song, and this particular song does have a bit of a Tracey Chapman feel about it. The song’s lyrics relate to a relationship that develops from a distance, and in this case the couple are 9 thousand miles apart from each other and it’s a case of one of them breaking the dead line to make the move to hold on to what they have got.

I think since the birth of the internet and social media sites it’s perhaps more of a common thing with how people can be miles away in another country, yet through the art of conversation with one another it can develop into a loving relationship that makes a strong enough bond for one of them to make the leap and hop on a plane to meet up. For some people it’s worked out and for others it’s not the case.

It’s something that even I myself have had a personal experience with and back in 2006 I made a leap to travel over 10 thousand miles to Australia. Though it never worked out for me and even though some people would call it a brave or bold thing to do. I seen it as more of a stupid decision to make in the first place simply because I should have held on to what I already had in the first place with my wife. I guess I got into a tunnel and Casey and the band do another GRAND! job here.

Track 7. Sebastian.


Casey ROCKS! it out for the final track on the album and she gets to belt her voice out a bit more and does a STELLAR! job here with the rest of the band. She really does wind up the album in GREAT! style and once again this is another firm favourite song of mine on the new album. No doubt this is also a GREAT! song to belt out at her live shows too.

I have no idea what Casey has been reading but there is another evil woman in this story telling song and just like the 2nd track on the album “The Tale of Hannah Mae” it’s another very well written song and a very powerful one at that. It’s another strong contender for the albums TOP SPOT! and puts to end another truly GREAT! album.


To sum up Steph Casey’s latest album The Seats in My Car. I would say it’s an album that’s perhaps well long overdue, though once again there is no denying that Casey has delivered the goods with a very strong new set of songs that are very much suited to her familiar style in the way that she delivers them. There is no mistaking Casey’s style and excellent song writing and even after 6 years it’s quite plain to see that she has not been forgotten one bit. For those who were around to witness the birth of her superb debut album Whisper & Holler 6 years ago, I am sure they would have hanged on long enough and were well chuffed to see this new release.

There is no doubt that Casey has struggled to come up with new songs that she felt were good enough for an album and even the much shorter half an hour time slot of the album points to that. But what we have here is more or less a solid body of work with the songs that have made the album, and once again the whole production and sound quality is very much TOP NOTCH! There is nothing remotely disappointing along the lines of her new album either and I am sure it will attract even more attention right now and keep her and her musical career quite busy.

My personal highlights from the album are “The Tale of Hannah Mae“. “Old Love“. “Long Drive” and “Sebastian“.


Steph Casey is back with a new band line-up and another truly GREAT! album that contains another fine set of GREAT! songs. The Seats In My Car is an album that will present you with a bit more EDGE! and GRIT! with some of her new songs, whilst containing some of the more refined quality that we got to see in the material she wrote for her debut album Whisper & Holler. To put it in a NUTSHELL! she has added another 7 QUALITY! songs to her discography of music and there is no mistaking her distinctive style across the couple of albums she has made to date.

There is no doubt in my mind that Steph Casey has once again came up TRUMPS! with her new set of songs. She can be GRITTY! INDIE, FOLKY!, COUNTRY!, ROCKY!, and her music will very much appeal to a much wider audience that should strike a resemblance of POPULARITY!. She deserves every bit of recognition she gets for her talent and song writing ability, she is a bit like a combination of Tracy Chapman and Sheryl Crow and I dare say many other GREATS! who have graced our ears with their fine songs. But most of all Steph Casey is herself and a fine artist in her own rights, and one who needs to be HEARD!

You can listen for free or even purchase Steph Casey’s latest album The Seats in My Car on Digital Download or CD by clicking on this link: https://stephcasey.bandcamp.com/album/the-seats-in-my-car-2

Shoot Him Cold With His Hunting gun, Slip Him Poison Till The Deed Is Done

The album track listing is as follows:

01. At a Bar Downtown. 4:09.
02. The Tale of Hannah Mae. 4:07.
03. Old Love. 6:34.
04. Long Drive. 4:44.
05. Gathering. 3:55.
06. Hold On. 3:13.
07. Sebastian. 6:47.

Lee’s Packaging Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee’s Price Point Rating Score. 7/10.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 8/10.

Lee Speaks About Music… #119

The Empty Room – Frédéric L’Épée



This is another one of those albums where I was approached by the artist himself to review one of their recent albums, and like I have said many times in the past in general I only ever review albums that I personally buy myself. However I am truly grateful for people taking an interest in my blog site here and have in the past had to turn down certain artists simply because their music does not appeal to me enough for me to give their album any real justice in giving their album a review, and on other occasions I have been quite blown away from the albums people have sent me to review, and it was a real pleasure to write a review for them simply because their music was genuinely down to my personal taste and rocked my boat so to speak.

To be perfectly honest this particular album entitled The Empty Room by the French guitarist Frédéric L’Épée is not an album that is going to set the world on fire that’s for sure, neither will it rock my socks off so to speak either. But it does have some very good substance and touches on certain moods that are appealing for my ears.

The music is also based around a subject matter that I have experienced plenty of myself over the years too. But as with all the music that I have been approached to review I have never turned down anybody simply by giving their music one spin regarding of if I like it or not. I personally do not believe any album is really going to speak to you just by giving it a single spin. As a matter of fact, the best albums take many spins to enable you to grow into them, and those are the type of albums in general that will have more longevity and stay with you.

The other thing I do in many of my reviews is take out some time to study the background of the artist, and this to be honest is where quite often the case things start to get a bit more interesting and it’s something I get a lot of pleasure out of and enjoy doing. Most of the time I do my own research and can spend several hours doing so as well and I prefer to do my own research than simply email the artist and ask them for some background information about themselves. Though on occasions when I am stuck I will no doubt try and get the answers I am looking for and approach the artist for it.

Although I have never come across Frédéric L’Épée before now, I can tell you that this guy certainly has some history in prog rock music and has had quite an interesting career in music since forming the band he was in way back in 1974. So, let’s now take a brief look at the man’s fascinating history.

Frédéric L’Épée In Brief History

Frédéric L’Épée was born in France and currently resides in Berlin, Germany. He is a self-taught guitarist and back in 1974 he formed the prog rock band Shylock along with André Fisichella on drums and Didier Lustig keyboards. The band went on to produce 2 albums and were released on CBS Records. The first of which was the album entitled  Gialorgues released in 1977 to which L’Épée also played the bass on. Their second album was released in the following year 1978 and was entitled Ile di Fievres (Fever Island) to which they also added a fourth member to the line-up namely the bass guitarist Serge Summa to take care of the bass duties on the album.



Shylock like many bands did not last that long and only ever produced a couple of albums to which have seen more up to date CD reissues over the years, though they are pretty hard to obtain without paying over the odds for them. No doubt at some time in the future we will get to see further reissues of the CD’s re-surface and some company like Cherry Red with their Esoteric Recordings for example may eventually get hold of it and reissue it at some point because there is no doubt that Shylock made a dent even if it was a small one in the world of prog rock music and were a very good band. Only a thousand copies were pressed of their debut album Gialorgues back in 1977 on vinyl making it quite a rare album to get hold of these days especially in good condition.

Shylock were very much influenced by King Crimson like many other bands have been over the years, though having heard their debut album Gialorgues it’s pretty much easy to see that Shylock had their own style and were very much more of an instrumental outfit. The instrumental side of things has certainly followed Frédéric L’Épée throughout his entire career more or less as well. Shylock disbanded due to musical differences between the band members and relationships with girlfriends were now coming into play, and  L’Épée himself started up a family of his own and took around an 8 year break before embarking on his next project. During this time, he took up further guitar studies and even gave guitar lessons to make a living.



In 1988 L’Épée got together with another couple of guitarists namely Bernard Ros and Laurent Chalef and they formed what was to be known as Philharmonie. This French Trio went on to make and produce 5 albums between 1990 – 1998 and once again the King Crimson influence had stayed with the style so it appears and many even accused them of copying Robert Fripp’s LEAGUE OF CRAFTY GUITARISTS! Well just like I had never heard of Shylock up until now, I took the liberty to listen to Philharmonie’s 1990 debut album Beau Soleil and can honestly say that people really need to be more attentive to just what they are listening to before passing judgement and criticising it. Simply because this album is absolutely nothing like what Fripp was doing with his League of Gentlemen. The music we have on the album Beau Soleil is a thousand times better to my ears and is proper well-structured worked out composition and constructed music and not some flimsy experimental jam that does not make a lot of sense like much of Fripp’s music.

Don’t get me wrong I like quite a bit of the music King Crimson have churned out over the many years, but with its many incarnations their music has never really been that consistent and can be very disappointing at times. The bands 3rd and 4th albums Lizard and Islands I could quite easily throw in the bin for example. But then again just how many bands do make GREAT! albums all the time and I could say the same thing about practically every one of them 99.9% of the time. But regarding what Robert Fripp has done in his other projects and collaborative works, it’s never spoke to me enough for me to show any interest in it at all I am afraid. I am not saying it’s complete rubbish and we all have different tastes on that score, but having heard the album Beau Soleil by Philharmonie this is certainly tempting me to go out and buy it and investigate this fine trio of excellent guitarists further.

Though  Philharmonie were only really a trio on their first couple of albums and in 1994 they added the drummer Jean-Louis Boutin to the line-up and they ended up giving the band more of a rock style regarding the output of their music. Both Laurent Chalef and Jean-Louis Boutin had left the band and they brought in Volodia Brice on drums to make their final album LE DERNIER MOT they put out in 1998. I think it was this particular rock style and the fact that L’Épée was not involved in the writing as much as he would of liked to have been like he was with the band Shylock that he felt he needed a change. It was also around 1997 that L’Épée decided to write a few of his own solo albums and in the early 2000’s he put together another band together called YANG that also featured Volodia Brice on drums along with guitarist Julien Vecchié and Stéphane Bertrand on bass.



YANG has so far to date have put out 3 albums between 2004 – 2017 and are supposed to be a bit more complex like King Crimson regarding their musical style. To be honest I was only able to locate the track “Pride” from their debut album A Complex Nature on YouTube to give a blast and in all honesty once again I was not really getting any King Crimson vibes here. I would also say that King Crimson was a bit more complex regarding some of their instrumental output particularly with their latter work with Adrian Belew and Tony Levin onboard especially on albums such as Discipline and THRAK for example.

But one thing has to remember, is that King Crimson are not entirely an instrumental band like the many of the bands L’Épée has put together. Even though the band Brand X can be more instrumental at times they can also throw in some vocals at times to take their music on another plane. To be perfectly honest I myself am not a big fan of instrumental albums that consist of instrumental tracks alone, and they have to be something that bit more special to grab my attention over the entire distance of an albums time slot. Though to be fair I cannot judge the band YANG on that one track alone and shall have to investigate them a bit more. But that track “Pride” for my ears was perhaps more of your typical rock track that sat in a groove to allow the guitarist to do his stuff over. It was not quite as special as what both King Crimson and Brand X can speak to me at times, and in all honesty Brand X are pretty more consistent than King Crimson when it comes down to doing instrumental tracks on that score.

I am not saying that I dislike instrumental albums by any means and to be perfectly honest I think when it comes down to them I will quite often prefer to have other elements of instrumentation going on in them, rather than sit and listen to an album that’s filled with just guitar or piano solos for example. Though I have some of those albums too and can still get pleasure out of them. To be honest I am not one who could sit down and listen to classical music either, though I have respect for it in many ways simply because a lot of it does have GREAT! musical structure to it, though at times even some of those GREAT! composers can go off the rails at times and be more sporadic for my own personal taste.

I can be quite diverse with my own taste of music, and even though progressive rock might be more suited to my personal taste for its diversity and just like classical music can go down other roads and take you along other paths with how its music is structured and created. I can still admire the singer songwriters of this world with their verse and chorus structured music with words to accompany it as well as the stranger styles of music I have come across in this vast world of music. I do also have one instrumental album that came out in 1975 that I could place on a pedestal and stick it in one of the 4 corners of the universe. That album is Camel’s Snow Goose which to me is an absolute masterpiece of beauty. It’s an album that can literally fill my eyes with tears of joy even today after all these years of listening to it, and they really did break the mould when they made that album.

As far as I can make out YANG is most likely still an ongoing project but I myself was certainly more impressed by Philharmonie’s debut album Beau Soleil and the material he did earlier with Shylock regarding the musical project bands L’Épée has put together over the years. I would also say it’s most unusual for even myself to take a lot of interest in 3 guitarists getting together and doing instrumental pieces as well.

For example I remember many moons ago when my brother Martin who is also a very well accomplished guitarist told me to watch the meeting of the spirits which was being shown live on the TV, to which consisted of John McLaughlin, Larry Coryell and Paco De Lucia and I can honestly say I have never seen or heard such a load of sporadic nonsense in all my life. It said absolutely nothing to me and is nowhere near as good as the material that is written for Beau Soleil. I have even watched it again more recently to see if it said anything different to me, and it still speaks the same to me today. But like I said we are all different when it comes down to our own tastes and how music comes across to us and how we perceive it.



Over the many years L’Épée has been involved in many other projects besides the ones I have just mentioned, back in 2013 he put together another trio which was more of a song-based project with American vocalist Peter Lippmann. Though Lippmann was not by any means a professional singer or musician there was something that L’Épée admired about his voice and his words when he bumped into him and it was enough for him to assemble an outfit to do something a bit different and give himself a chance to play more of an acoustic role. Lippmann also played flute and harmonica which was also a useful asset for them to go out and perform live. The multi-instrumentalist Moussa Koita was added to the line-up of the trio to handle the percussion side of things and throw in other more worldly musical instruments giving it more of an African vibe and he also played the bass on the 5-track studio EP they put out in 2013. Jean-Seb was later added to the line up to cater for the bass duties for their live shows.

Lobotonics is certainly a far cry and way different from the instrumental material that L’Épée had been doing over the biggest majority of his musical career, though in reality he had very much in the long distant past tried at some point to write more simple structured music and add a vocalist to Shylock back in the late 70’s. He was even working on a 3rd Shylock album that the record company CBS had suggested he should do for their next album. Though the idea was not very fruitful for both the band and the record company and was scrapped.

I took the liberty and gave the Lobotonics 5 track EP a couple of BLASTS! on Bandcamp and it’s very well produced and has very much a Caribbean Jungle vibe about it in some respects. The music flows very well and it has some lovely classical guitar especially on the 2nd track “Easy” which is my personal favourite track. Overall, it’s quite a joyful collection of songs mostly and I would even say that the lyrics can be a bit BANANAS! at times, but they all add to the joyful fun of it all I felt.

However, you look at the history of Frédéric L’Épée’s musical career with all he has been involved with over the years. It is without doubt a very fascinating one and he has many years of experience behind him as both a musician and composer. Music flows in his blood and through his veins and it’s still very much flowing through them after all these years and he has put in the many hours to carefully craft out his talented skills on the guitar and is a very well accomplished and skilful guitarist.

The Album In Review…

The Empty Room by Frédéric L’Épée was released on the 22nd May 2019. The album contains 12 instrumental tracks and it comes with an overall playing time of 60 minutes, 9 seconds. It’s L’Épée’s 9th album from his solo career if you were to include the first album Vent Pluie et Sable (Wind, Rain and Sand) he done entirely on a fretless guitar back in 1997 and released as a digital download only for free. Oddly enough he has also put out an experimental album even more recently on Bandcamp entitled Campanologie though you can only play the album on there and it’s only obtainable via purchasing his complete digital discography to which you can get all 10 albums at a discount price.

To be perfectly honest experimental albums can be fascinating especially for those who are fascinated by how one can achieve to get a certain sound out of an instrument via using various effects, but musically they can be a far cry from a more structured composition like some of the material we have on this album The Empty Room for example with how the music presents itself to you in a more natural way with its instrumentation.  But this album does also have a few experimental tracks on it as well.

I did take the liberty of listening to his first album Vent Pluie et Sable (Wind, Rain and Sand) and in many ways I could also see that has an experimental album with how he is using a fretless guitar to more or less replicate the sound of a Kalimba. I think he even managed to achieve that too, but out of the 5 tracks on the album it was only the last couple of tracks that really said anything to me musically. Oddly enough the final track on the album which was the only track that was not named after “Kalimba” and titled “Yabancı” to which I felt was very much stepping on King Crimson’s territory and parts of it reminded me a lot of the self-titled album track that opened up their album Lark’s Tongues In Aspic.

I also listened to the opening 3 tracks from the album Campanologie and that was even more experimental for my personal taste, and to be honest experiential albums are not really my cup of tea at all. Though no doubt there are those who will like these types of albums and find them far more interesting than myself on that score. Both of those albums were also done solely by L’Épée himself, whereas the album The Empty Room he brought in a few more musicians to help out on the some of the tracks on the album. Most of which I dare say he would have known and played with before such as the drummer Volodia Brice for example. Even the original drummer from Shylock André Fisichella also plays on one of the tracks. So, let’s now take a look at the musicians and credits that feature on the album.

Musicians & Credits…


All music composed by Frédéric L’Épée. Recorded in various locations in Berlin, Paris, Nice, Toulon and La Turbie. Mixed by Frédéric L’Épée & Laurent James at Laurent James Studio at La Turbie. Mastered by Tim Xavier & Michael Kuhn at Manmade Studios, Berlin, Germany. Manufactured by Deine.CD in Berlin, Germany. Photography by Nuria Gregori. Cover art & design by J.C. Philippart.

Frédéric L’Épée: Guitars/Fretless Guitar/Guitar Synth/Percussion & Programmed Piano.
Nico Gomez: Bass (Tracks 2 & 10) Fretless Bass (Track 8)
Volodia Brice: Drums (Tracks 2 & 10).
Andre Fisichella : Drums (Track 1)
Laurent James: Guitar Solo (Track 10).
Olivier Innocenti: Bayran (Track 10)

The Album Tracks In Review…

As I mentioned earlier in my introduction the album The Empty Room is not exactly an album that will set the world on fire. I also mentioned that the music is based around a subject that I have experienced plenty of myself, and the subject matter in question here is about the loss of family and friends which is something that we all go through more so as we grow older. It’s an album that took 9 years in the making and the music reflects L’Épée’s personal big losses over those years although the music is not all based around grief with its moods, and I think that L’Épée sums it up very well in his own words which are as follows:

“The Empty Room is about mourning, but it doesn’t make it a sad album. It is more a questioning about loss, about letting go or handling pain, about how grief can turn into a vessel of serenity and peace. Though we all have to face it one day or another, the process is different for each of us”.

I think the artwork that J.C. Philippart done for the album cover is very well suited to the subject matter here too, and reflects the sense of emptiness and loss when someone is no longer with us.

Art 1

We all have our own ways of dealing with grief and the loss of our loved ones and quite often it’s New Year’s Day that hits me at times where I will take a moment to gather my thoughts. I have never seen New Year’s Day as a cause for celebration either, apart from being grateful that I am still around to see in the new year. But I always think of those who are unfortunate and no longer with us to see it in. Oddly enough it’s also a day I can look back on reflection and I have even written a couple of my own songs on that very day in the past too. Both “Another Year, And Another Day” and “First Day of The Year (Happy New Year)” I wrote on the 1st January. The first of which I wrote back in 2012 and the latter of the two I wrote this very year.

But overall another way you could look at the music we have on the album The Empty Room is that it’s an album that one could simply chillout too with it’s different flavours and moods, and it’s not all about chillout music either with how it can raise its tempo every now and then along the way. I think with every guitarist who plays in a band and makes their own solo albums it gives them the opportunity to express themselves in many other ways. No doubt you will also get the odd familiar track that is more like what they do with their respective bands they are in just like you would with guitarists such as Steve Howe of Yes, David Gilmore of Pink Floyd or even Chris Fry of Magenta and many others for example.

I know I also stated in my introduction that this is not an album that will rock your socks off either. But in all honesty neither of those artists I mentioned above will with their solo albums either, but I can certainly enjoy them just as much as I could enjoy guitarists such as Joe Satriani and Steve Vai who most likely would rock my socks off. But it does not make them any better guitarists at all, and every guitar player has their own style, feel and personal touch on the instrument and can touch my soul in many different ways and what Frédéric L’Épée is doing here can also do exactly that. So, let’s take a closer look into The Empty Room by looking at the individual tracks on the album.

Track 1. Badong.

The album kicks off in fine style with its opening track entitled “Badong” and the word “Badong” means both bad and wrong and relates to something either has gone wrong or bad. It’s also a county in the province of Hubei in China and my own observation of why this particular title was chosen is that the person who was taken away by either a bad incident that happened or they resided in that province in China. I could of course be completely wrong, and under the circumstances relating to the subject matter of the tracks on this album I am hardly going to be poking my nose looking for answers into one’s personal life.

To be perfectly honest the music we have here does have a sense of beauty and drama about it and flows along like a river. It’s driven along at a good steady pace too and has some really GREAT! passages along its path that allow it to slow or come down a bit, which allows other instrumentation to come into play very nicely with how it’s all so well built up with its musical structure with the guitars, drums and percussion. It also carries a bit of weight and inflicts some force and power into it all too.

Badong” is the second longest track on the album and weighs in at a good 7 minutes and features L’Épée on electric, acoustic, guitar synth and percussion. At least I think he’s using a guitar synth and not a real synth, it’s hard to tell these days. It also features his old bandmate from Shylock Andre Fisichella on drums and it’s good to see that after all those years that people can still get along with each other.

Some of the driven synth guitar does remind me of Robert Fripp in particular with the sound he’s getting out of it. The acoustic guitar is very well utilised in the piece too and comes into play right from the start though I love the section from 2:10 – 2:48 where the track first comes down and the acoustic guitar plays this WONDERFUL! melody line and the guitar synth plays a counter melody that actually reminds me of Tangerine Dream back in the 1980’s with it’s GORGEOUS! sound and it’s quite familiar with some of the voicing sounds they used back then.

The piece really builds up in with quite some power as it meanders it’s way along in a sort of stomping marching way, and the section between 3:56 – 5:21 is where L’Épée opens up the throttle and lets it rip, and watch out for even more power that gets injected into all the frenzy between the 5:48 – 6:28 mark where Fisichella does an excellent job on the drums and bashes them out in fine style. It really is a GREAT! track and has to be one of the top contenders for the Top Spot on the album. I dare say for many, this would be their favourite track.

Track 2. Inévitable Traversée.

The 2nd track on the album translates to “Inevitable Crossing” or could pertain to “Unavoidable Crossing” in English. It could suggest that the person either met their fate in a road accident or where one breathes their last breath at the end of their term in life and crosses over so to speak. Whatever the circumstances where, the piece reflects beauty and warmth in a way of remembrance of the lost one here for sure.

It features  L’Épée on clean electric guitars doing a splendid job on the rhythm and contains some  lovely lead lines that interweave there way along in GREAT! style. We also get some wonderful bass work from Nico Gomez and Volodia Brice does a very fine subtle job on the drum kit to accompany it all. It’s another beautiful piece of work and is very pleasing for the ears this one and is a really GREAT! chillout track and another track that could be a contender for the albums Top Spot I feel.

Track 3. En Descendant La Riviere Lente.

This next piece features L’Épée solely on his own like many of the tracks along the album, and here he is using guitars and guitar effects to create the soundscape we have here. The title of the track translates to “Descending Down The Slow River” in English and it’s well apt to the title with the pretty good job he done of it.


To be honest even though this type of track could be seen as experimental to some degree, it does have the ability to keep you attentive to the sounds he’s creating here, and even though most experimental work is not really my thing, I quite like this piece. It would also work very well in a scene for a movie and a Soundtrack album is perhaps more fitting for a piece like this along with a few of the other tracks on this album.

I also find that even though the track is near enough 6 and half minutes long, somehow it only seems like it travels over half of that distance. So, it must speak to me rather than irritate me like most experimental music would on that score. Though no doubt if the piece was some 15 to 20 minutes long like some artists would do on their albums, it most likely would get my goat up, simply because over that distance I would expect the music to have much more diversity and travel down more or even many roads so to speak.  But overall this is quite a skilled piece of work.

Track 4. Amour Et Dissolution.

Love and Dissolution” is what we have here which could pertain to an action of formerly ending, a terminal departure from life or even a dissolvement from marriage as in till death do us part for example. Once again, this piece was created with L’Épée’s guitars alone, only unlike the previous track this is not so experimental and is created with clean and slightly distorted guitars rather than an array of effects.

The melody and counterpart melodies are very well worked out with how they interact in harmony with each other, and they create a sound like a clock ticking out the time at first, and as it develops along the bell ringing sounds become more evident and it gave me a sort of visualisation of being at a cemetery standing in the rain at a funeral. The final melody line that comes into play at the end the piece reminds me a bit of the main melody line that created the song “Message in A Bottle” by The Police. It’s a very well-structured piece of work and fits the title right down to a tee.

Track 5. Delta.

This is the longest track on the album and weighs in at some 8 minutes, 23 seconds. It’s also quite a dramatic piece that drives along as if we were on some sort of a mission riding the rapids on a river sort of thing, and being that a “Delta” is a landform that forms from deposition of sediment carried by a river as the flow leaves its mouth and enters slower-moving or standing water. I would very much say that, that is what L’Épée was also trying to convey here with the music, though I could be wrong.


River Deltas

The piece does to tend run in one direction, however the way it builds up and transcends itself along with all the many parts on the guitars, does make it very interesting. There is also the sort of energy with how well its driven along that one would think the piece has drums to drive it along, but its all so very well constructed in a way that it does not really need them at all. “Delta” is very much another track on the album that is a contender for the Top Spot on the album.

Track 6. Hymne Aux Ancêtres 1.

The first of two tracks on the album that L’Épée created in a way of a dedication for his ancestors. “Hymne Aux Ancêtres translates in English to “Anthem To Ancestors” I suppose in many ways it could also be seen has an hymn to his ancestors. This is the longer of the two short pieces and features  L’Épée on guitars and percussion. It does have a tribal feel about it, and it sort of gives me the visualisation of an Aborigine out in the outback at a burial ceremony.

Track 7. Blessures Precieuses.

The title translates to “Treasured Wounds” and treasured wounds is often likened to treasured memories, which are memories of lost ones that can be stored in our thoughts and even having something in the way of a possession of our lost ones to hold onto such as a ring for example. Though treasured wounds in some parts of the world can go much deeper where the person will even wear the bones of their lost loved ones around their neck or wrist in remembrance of them. There was a Jawara woman who even wore the skull of her dead husband around her neck.


I remember when I lost my son and my oldest granddaughter made a very strange request and asked me if she could have some of my sons’ ashes so that she could get a Memorial Tattoo in remembrance of him. To be honest just the thought of it made me feel a bit sick at the time, and even though I refused her request I did tell her that he will be forever with you in your memories and that is something no one can ever take away from you, and memories are very much precious treasures and hold all the fondest thoughts you could ever wish for deep within you. Apparently, Cremation or Memorial Tattoos are not nothing new and a select few are paying tributes to the ones they’ve lost in a different way.

Once again L’Épée is weaving his way along here with his array of guitars and the guitar synth is utilised very well in the piece too. I think he captures the mysterious side of the subject matter behind the title we have here and dramatizes it quite well. But it does tend to say the same thing at times.

Track 8. Brume.

This track features L’Épée on acoustic and electric guitars and Nico Gomez on fretless bass, and the title translates to “Mist“. To be honest I am not sure if the title is referring to a cloudlike aggregation of minute globules of water or has been used in a more modern way of saying “Missed” which would be perhaps more fitting to the subject matter and concept of the album. But I suppose either of them could fit to the subject matter depending on how one seen the person who is lost here. Musically it is perhaps leaning more towards the cloudy side of things and it’s quite a lovely piece with clean guitar lines and a very well-structured piece of music and another really GREAT! track I would see in the way of a very strong contender for the Top Spot on the album too.

Track 9. Parle-Moi Encore.

This next piece is GORGEOUS” and features L’Épée on one guitar and piano and it just goes to show how some of the simpler things can say so much. In English the title translates to “Keep Talking To Me” and this track certainly does speak to me, so much that it’s my personal favourite track on the album and wins my Top Spot Award. The simple one stroke piano chords are a bit reminiscent to the self-titled album track “Heartbreakers” by Tangerine Dream that was scored for the 1984 film of the same title and released on their soundtrack album in 1985.

Though this track is way better in my opinion, but Tangerine Dream did some similar things on some of their other albums a bit like this, and “Twenty-Nine Palms” from their Lily On The Beach album also springs to mind too. Though that did have more than just a single chord hammering down on the keys as it developed along. But no doubt the simple things at times can speak in volumes and I love this beauty that L’Épée composed here.  I suppose in many ways the memories of the loved ones we have lost, will always keep talking to us, and that may have been what L’Épée was implying here, and this piece touches my heart and soul. Thank you sincerely Sir!!!

Track 10. Souvenirs De Traversée.

The title translates to “Memories Of The Crossing” and accompanying L’Épée here we have Nico Gomez on bass, Volodia Brice on drums. Olivier Innocenti on bayran which is a type of chromatic button accordion developed in Russia in the early 20th century and named after the 11th-century bard Boyan. I suppose it’s a bit like Russia’s answer to the German Squeeze Box from hell and is very similar to the Accordion.



Though the unusual traditional instrumentation does not stop there because the track also features Laurent James who contributes a solo on an Erhu guitar and this comes into play around the 2 minute 40 second mark. The Erhu is a two-stringed bowed musical instrument that originated from China. It’s sometimes known in the Western World as the Chinese violin or a Chinese two-stringed fiddle and personally I think it replicates that sound more so than a guitar.



Besides all the other guitars played on the track by L’Épée, he also programmed the piano that runs through the piece. It does have a very good build to it and like most of the tracks on this album they do tend to be structured that way rather than be constructed over more chords. They also tend to run in a straight direction rather than go somewhere else and the skill is really in how well the piece is built up and how the other instruments and counterparts come into play. It’s another fine piece of work and every one does a GRAND! job on it.

Track 11. Hymne Aux Ancêtres 2.

The second part of the “Anthem to Ancestors” features L’Épée playing a solo on his fretless guitar, it does not give me the visualisation of an Aborigine out in the outback at a burial ceremony like the first part did with its other elements thrown into the pot. But it does have more of a Western World feel to it and it sounds more like an instrument that came from China in particular with how his fingers slide along the strings and hit the notes. Apparently, it’s also a piece in the way of a tribute to Confucius and he explains more about it in the description of this video he posted of it on his YouTube channel back in April this year, and here you can see him play the short piece.

Track 12. Wegschippernd.

The final track on the album is the shortest and is just over a minute long. L’Épée chose to put the title in German which is where he is living now and has been for some time, but it translates in French to “Voguant Au Loin” and in English the title is very much “Sailing Away“. I suppose it’s his way of saying Bon voyage has he sails off onto his next musical journey.

He uses just a guitar and some reverse effects to play the piece, and the opening lower region notes do rather sound a bit like a big ship in a harbour about to set sail, whilst the reverse effects give more of the impression of the ship sailing off into the sunset so to speak. It’s perhaps not the best way to end off the album but quite an effective way and he is saying goodbye after all.


To sum up The Empty Room by Frédéric L’Épée I personally think overall, it’s quite a good album, but not a GREAT! or SOLID! album. However, if you were to look at what L’Épée was trying to achieve with the material he wrote for the album over the past 9 years, and take in the concept of the subject matter it was personally meant for. I very much feel that he more or less achieved his goal, and if you are buying an album like this, you are very much getting exactly what it says on the tin so to speak with how he originally described the album in his own words.

In many ways I could perhaps see quite a bit of the music that is on the album more suited to film music, rather than an album an artist would put out as their main album sort of thing. But on the other hand, that would also be very hard to avoid given that the material was specifically written for a special purpose with its subject matter and original concept. Dramatics would also play much of a role too, and the album is far from a mixed bag of material even though he has thrown in some experimental material. But it still works very well with how all the tracks have been placed on the album, so there has been a lot of thought put into it all I feel.

From what little I have heard of L’Épée’s music during the time of writing my review here, there is no question of the man’s ability to play the guitar and he has put in the hours and learnt the instrument very well. No doubt he has years of experience behind him too, and to be honest some of his earlier material in the bands he has put together will even speak to me a lot more than what J.S. Bach’s Sonata for Violin n° 1 in G Minor will to which he is playing in this video he put on YouTube last year.

There is no doubt that J.S. Bach’s music can be very complex and you would have to put in quite a bit of hard work practising a piece like this too. But for me personally a lot of the notes in this piece do not really make a lot of sense, and they are not exactly going to sing to you like a decent lead solo would or like a singer would singing a vocal line for example. I know this particular piece was written for the violin and it would perhaps say more to me with an orchestra behind it, but on its own as a solo I very much doubt it would ever speak to me at all no matter how impressive it may look.

The best lead lines for me are those that sing to you, and can even bite you, and for many guitarists that is really the best way they can make a mark and express themselves and give themselves a voice. Especially when the music you do is mostly consisted of instrumental material without a singer to give you a voice. But even with a singer the solo still has to sing and say something meaningful, and just as I mentioned earlier about John McLaughlin & Co playing a load of sporadic notes at lightning speed, it may look impressive but it’s speaking a totally different language as far as I am concerned and saying totally nothing to me.

Thankfully L’Épée’s own music is not like that and allows more space for expression and my personal highlights from the album The Empty Room are as follows: “Keep Talking To Me“. “Badong“. “Delta“. “Inevitable Crossing“. and  “Mist“.


To conclude my review of The Empty Room by Frédéric L’Épée. I would say that it is very much like I stated a couple of times already in that it’s not an album that will set the world on fire, but it does have some pleasurable moments along its path, and overall it’s a pretty decent enough album and one I can play from start to finish and still get something out of it. It’s not a solid album by any means and there are a couple of less interesting pieces, but nothing that bad to spoil my pleasure or even make me want to skip a track whilst listening to the album.

It’s perhaps more of an album you would expect from a guitarists solo career rather than what you would get from what they would do with a band for example, and the biggest majority of the material along the album is played by L’Épée himself. Which will have certain limitations no doubt. Much of the material can be a bit one directional and the real skill has been put into how it’s all been built up with the many counter melodies and textured layers he has applied. That is perhaps where the real artistry of his work lies on this album and he has done an exceptionally good job of it here.

To be perfectly honest in my world of prog rock music, the music does have to go in many directions for me to really appreciate it, and for it to really speak to me in the first place. It’s very unusual for me to see anything in music that is more one directional at all. So L’Épée must be doing something quite special for me to even take on an album like this and give it a review.

However that does not mean I am going to buy the rest of his solo albums, but I certainly will eventually buy some of the albums he has done in the past with his former bands  Shylock and Philharmonie which perhaps will rock my boat more so to speak, and I have certainly enjoyed looking into the background of Frédéric L’Épée’s musical career and found it most interesting and thoroughly enjoyed his music and working on this review of The Empty Room. So, no doubt I shall be reviewing more of this man’s fine talent and his albums in the future.

You can listen for free or even purchase The Empty Room by Frédéric L’Épée by clicking on this link: https://laspada.bandcamp.com/album/the-empty-room

You Will Always Be Here, So Keep Talking To Me…

The album track listing is as follows and I have put all the track titles in English.

01. Badong. 7:00.
02. Inevitable Crossing. 4:23.
03. Descending Down The Slow River. 6:28.
04. Love And Dissolution. 3:32.
05. Delta. 8:23.
06. Anthem To Ancestors 1. 3:15.
07. Treasured Wounds. 6:47.
08. Mist. 4:50.
09. Keep Talking To Me. 6:40.
10. Memories Of The Crossing. 5:44.
11. Anthem To Ancestors 2. 2:04.
12. Sailing Away. 1:03.

Lee’s Album Rating Score. 7/10.