CD Reviews

Landmarq - 'Entertaining Angels' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 28, 2013    
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It seems we've been a bit slow with this review, which is a great shame because this album represents a cracking collection of songs that are all steeped in highly memorable songs, melody, excellent harmonies and vocal arrangements, that border on brilliance, plus superb instrumental passages courtesy of Mike Varty (keyboards), Uwe D'Rose (guitars), Steve Gee (bass) and the now departed Dave Wagstaffe (drums).

There's not a weak moment across the twelve tracks laid before you on the two disc special edition (eight on the standard version); I've certainly found myself enamoured with the songs and can be heard singing (or trying to) selections from them at random moments throughout the day.

It's been 14 years between studio albums but the wait has been well worth it as the band has produced something special that is seemingly driven by Tracy Hitchings' spiritual beliefs and her unconventional battle to overcome cancer. The lyrical content is terrific, as is Hitchings' delivery of them, although I suspect she has one of those voices that divides opinion (the exaggerated vibrato she uses does prove a distraction at times) but there can be no argument that she is at the peak of her powers here. Just listen to the seductiveness with which she imbues the two 'Glowing' tracks, 'Friends' and 'Lovers'. Simply stunning!

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I could easily take up this entire review by describing just one of the tracks because every one of them deserves mention, they are that good, but I'll have to confine myself to teasing you with a few snippets because highlights abound. The title track opens the album in terrific fashion with a Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd) style guitar overlaying a wash of synths, all this before the infectious bridge and chorus burrow into your consciousness from first listen. I even like the saxophone solo. Another wonderful guitar preface ushers in 'Mountains of Anglia'; 'Glowing' mixes power and beauty while 'Personal Universe' is equally gripping.

There is no let-up in quality on disc two either; making it a real bonus rather than a collection of outtakes. Superb!

Gary Marshall

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Franco Cerchiari said:

Wow. Just, wow. With the seemingly simple songwriting style of Blackfield, the progressive touches of Yes, the clear as a bell vocals of Renaissance's Annie Halsam, and the reflective melodies of Sounds Of Contact, Landmarq's 'Entertaining Angels' is one fantastic release. The brilliant piano and at times out of this world synthesizers, the light as a feather vocals, the lush guitars all come together to float over the listener so that he gets lost in a time continuum that spellbounds and delights. Certainly many tracks have a progressive touch, but past that, more than being a progressive band, Landmarq combines the futuristic with deeply personal lyrics and messages.

Highlights include the early Yes sounding 'Glowing', the music of 'Personal Universe'that really reminded me of Renaissance, the synthesizers of 'Prayer', the 12 minute spacey 'Turbulence (Paradigm Shift). The almost 17 minute 'Calm Before The Storm' twists and turns, bringing the music toward the listener then at times pulling away giving the feeling that the songwriter wants us to run alongside. It uses a myriad of tempo changes, volume pitch ebbs and tides, bringing various instruments in and out of focus, and what is layed out is nothing short of a novella with a storyline telling of a person longing for the truth. It is in times soft, then loud, it rocks hard then pulls back. It is mesmerizing, with biting lyrics. To sum this track up - it is an absolute joy to hear.

Again, a fantastic release. Let's hope Landmarq doesn't wait another 14 years till their next release. 'Entertaining Angels' is highly recommended. Certainly for fans of the progressive but to anyone wanting to her great music.
November 28, 2013
Votes: +4

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