Freedom To Glide - 'Rain'

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Freedom To Glide - 'Rain'

A splendid album that has everything for the discerning music lover who craves great songs.

It felt like an eternity between my learning of Freedom To Glide's impending album and its eventual release but the wait has been worth it.

FTG comprises of Pete Riley (keyboards, vocals) and Andy Nixon (guitars, vocals) who prior to forming this enterprise played together in the Pink Floyd tribute band Dark Side Of The Wall. Yes, there are a few Floyd-like moments, including spoken soundbites, some keyboard motifs and a couple of guitar solos, but these don't dominate or detract from their own sound which sits somewhere like a pleasing mix of Floyd, Big Big Train, Riversea, Jadis and Camel.

Given those credentials you won't be surprised to learn that it's a concept album, based on the real life experiences of Corporal Robert Wilson during the First World War. Despite the subject matter this isn't the maudlin affair that might suggest; they've created themes, refrains and melodies that cover a wide range of moods many of which are uplifting. Everything about this album is impressive, the writing, the arrangements, the playing and the telling of an incredibly poignant, difficult and moving story.

'Rain (Part1)' opens with an instrumental passage redolent of Pink Floyd however this changes when the vocals arrive and the FTG style emerges. The track is memorable for both its melody and chorus, the latter becoming a recurring theme across the album. The vocal arrangement is delightful in its simplicity and the guitar solo is a perfect, all substance and no flash.

'Anywhere But Here' builds atmosphere before 'Path Of Reasons' smacks you between the eyes with a super riff, the verses remind me of Jadis and the chorus then gets wonderfully heavier. 'Riders On A Wave' is driven by acoustic guitar and piano, once more it oozes melody and a yet another terrific chorus; these guys know how to write those, that's for sure.

The quality never drops as 'Rain (Part 2)' again builds the mood before the brooding 'Angels And Stones' takes over with a well worked vocal arrangement that features one clean voice and a second mechanically altered. Another splendid vocal arrangement permeates 'Rain (Part 3) – Wind And Gales' as does the delightful chorus. The longest track, 'When The Whistle Blows' is full of pathos but paradoxically beautiful at the same time. The narrative (I assume from Wilson's widow) adds great poignancy as does the playing of 'The Last Post'; it always brings a lump to my throat. Rather than end on that solemn note they close with 'Not A Broken Man' which conveys a positive message.

This is a splendid album that has everything for the discerning music lover who craves great songs.

Gary Marshall

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