TCP - 'Fantastic Dreamer'

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TCP - 'Fantastic Dreamer'

You like prog? Then get yourself this album.

Think what it would have been like if "Wish You Were Here" era Pink Floyd had decided that they wanted to merge with Gabriel era Genesis to create a new, but familiar sound and then add a more contemporary verve and a cutting edge production. You're getting there, but there are still plenty of twists and turns to make TCP's second album 'Fantastic Dreamer' into what should genuinely be held up as a progressive rock classic - and I don't say that lightly.

This is an album that never drops from start to finish, with the quality of musicianship and composition remaining staggeringly high throughout. That's not to say that there aren't highlights, it's just that every one of the songs on this album are of the highest standard. My personal favourites come in the shape of beautifully melodic 'In The Movie Of You', where a plaintive piano introduces a deeply atmospheric Floydian theme which is as equally uplifting as it is threatening. The guitar work of Jack Wright sings and sears, while the absolutely stunning keyboard work (a theme across the whole album) from Blake Tobias not only sets the scene, but continually moves the music along and pushes its boundaries. TCP are not a band content to sit on a theme for too long though, so as this song blurs past Wright suddenly blurts out a howling guitar solo, allowing the whirlwind drumming (which is also provided by Wright) and the galloping bass (which Tobias also plays) to come along for the ride. The effect is stunning, aggressive and beautiful, which is a pretty impressive trick to pull off. Not content with that TCP then fire out the bizarre, with stunning results. Imagine the cabaret piano of Dresden Dolls pounding over a rocked up Genesis vibe. The guitars work is precise and straight to the point, with the keyboard and rhythm playing really hauling this song into a full on rampage that has melody to burn.

I haven't touched on the vocals yet and you may wonder why. Well the simple reason is that they deserve to be singled out, with the tones of Henry Tarnecky being similar to Peter Gabriel's husky tones. However the tortured gargles and shrieks that he also yelps out, bring a completely unique aspect to his voice that is simultaneously unnerving and beguiling. As with so much of what makes 'Fantastic Dreamer' just so good, it is this remarkable contrast between elements of songs and sounds that makes for such an interesting and invigorating album. However the skill comes in making it all come together in such a seamless manner, which this album does with an impressive and unforced ease. Many prog acts these days feel the need to wedge together disparate ideas simply to sound "progressive", TCP on the other hand allow the different moods, feels and approaches to meld into one another in a completely organic and hugely enjoyable manner, which is a rare treat!

Closing track 'Vision' is the epic that all albums of this ilk thrive on and unsurprisingly it doesn't disappoint in any way. Instead it just grows and grows through a simple melody into an all encompassing journey through some weighty themes and grandiose tones. Tarnecky shines once more, but this is a true band effort to make music that is far huger than the sum of its parts - cranked up, it is absolutely stunning.

Put simply. You like prog? Get yourself this album. You won't be disappointed.

Steven Reid

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