Fireworks

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Mabel Greer's Toyshop - 'New Way Of Life' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/12/07/33/Mabel-Greers-Toyshop-New-Way-Of-Life-18-1430595924.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 02, 2015    
 
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If ever there was a case of "try before you buy" this has to be it.

I'd expect every one of the Fireworks and Rocktopia readerships to be aware of Prog giants Yes, but few to know that they originated as Mabel Greer's Toyshop. Formed in London during 1966, the original band's music was a combination of Psychedelic, Blues and Classically-influenced arrangements. Chris Squire joined a year later and gradually the formative members of Yes replaced MGT's founders and the name eventually changed.

Forty-five years later, two of the founding members, Clive Bayley (composer, guitarist & vocalist) and Bob Hagger (drums), met and, according to their biography, decided to go to the studio and try out their old sound. This resulted in the band's revival with Tony Kaye (keyboards) returning along with new recruits Billy Sherwood (multi-instrumentalist) and bassist Hugo Barré.

I'm not familiar with their early output but it's fair to say they have almost certainly captured the ethos of their "old sound" as this album is decidedly retro both sonically and stylistically. Those familiar with my reviews will know that I'm not averse to retro, far from it, but this album stretches even my tolerance levels. Consequently I think this album's appeal is likely to be extremely limited and confined to the most ardent of Prog fans.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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There's certainly a 1960/1970's vibe going on with The Moody Blues coming to mind from time-to-time as does the Canterbury sound of the likes of Soft Machine, Caravan and Camel, however where they differ from those bands is in both the quality of the musical themes/melodies and lyrical content; the former lack any conviction while the latter is lame. In fact, these are some of the weakest lyrics I've heard in quite a while and their delivery is decidedly passionless.

After several plays none of the eleven songs on offer have made any sort of lasting impression on me; I usually know when an album's good when I find myself singing bits throughout the day when I'm at work. That's not happened here. If ever there was a case of "try before you buy" this has to be it.

Gary Marshall

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