Fireworks

Rob Gould - 'The Broken Road' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 25, 2012    
 
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Not a rock album, but one at the mellow end of the neo progressive movement.

I do like to review a wide variety of music relevant to this magazine, and ‘The Broken Road’ by the keyboard guy who founded and continues to be the driving force behind the prog band Fula, and who has also played keyboards with Brazilian band Ashtar is undoubtedly the gentlest and most ambient offering I am covering this time.

This is actually Gould’s sixth solo outing – I have no familiarity with any of the others - and if they are all like this, the full set would surely be a welcome cure for any sufferer of insomnia. I do not mean this in an unkindly way, but the dreamlike and very plaintive nature of most of the music plus the sound of seagulls on two of the later tracks would undeniably assist with sleeping if listened to at the end of the day…

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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‘The Broken Road’ is mainly an album of instrumental music, although there is lyrical content on four tracks: ‘The Singularity’, the title track, ‘Human Satellite’ and the very lengthy ‘Port Sunlight’, with enchanting vocals from Fiona Ford (also the current vocalist with Fula) on the first two and more dulcet tones from Lesley Davies on the others. A further four tracks: ‘Blip’ (which hardly gets going before it enters into a very length fade!), the enigmatically titled ‘Daybreak In The Graveyard Of The Sentient Robots’ and the two closing numbers, ‘Adrift’ and ‘Land Ahoy’ find Gould playing unaccompanied. On the rest he is accompanied by guitar from no fewer than five different collaborators (including Fula bassist Nigel Moss). This instrumentation helps to define the direction of the album, and the generally subtle guitar parts embellish the music with an additional charm and character, while a Saxophone solo from Gerard McDonald also contributes sublime colour to ‘Port Sunlight’. This is really both quite an exquisite and an amazing track to which I find myself returning over and over…

As for Rob Gould’s keyboards: well, I was pleased to discover usage of a theremin on the majestic title track and elsewhere there is interesting and liberal usage of something called a tenori-on on three tracks. This is apparently “a new digital instrument fusing sound and light, which gives off a distinctly oriental vibe”. Overall, however, piano predominates and to a possibly lesser extent, various synths.

Not a rock album, but one at the mellow end of the neo progressive movement that I know will find appeal amongst some readers of Fireworks & Rocktopia who allow themselves to float away on a raft of gentle musical self-indulgence now and again!

Paul Jerome Smith

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