I don't know what I was expecting when I sat down with my mother-in-law and the orange cat to listen to Liam Davison's album A Treasure of Well Set Jewels, but by half-way through the second track I was completely beguiled. Liam must have a similar record collection to mine, because there are traces of all sorts of influences including (in no particular order) later period Pink Floyd, The Beatles round about 1966, and the immortal Steve Hillage. In fact, thinking about it, Steve Hillage was the biggest parallel here; not because the music sounds more than passingly like him, it doesn't, but in the late 1970s Hillage mixed together a mishmash of hippy, psychedelic, and then contemporary influences, (including Pink Floyd and The Beatles) to make a rich and heavy gumbo which sounded completely unlike anything being put out by his peers. Davison has done much the same thing. Except, because the album is made at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st Century rather than the end of the seventh decade of the 20th, there are thirty something more years of influences and technology that Liam has to play with.
I don't know as much about contemporary neo-prog as I probably should; in the past 10 years (no, make that 20) my tastes have veered away from prog and heavy rock towards the land inhabited by the artier end of the Indie groups, the more sophisticated and experimental end of dance music and a lot of what is broadly known as acid folk. But since I started writing for Gonzo nearly a year ago, I have re-evaluated the genre and found that I have been missing out on a lot of great music. Therefore I only have the vaguest idea of who Mostly Autumn are. However, I have been informed that young Liam is one of the most favoured alumni of the band, and that various other members of the band have joined him on this solo project. Well, to other nusos of my generation I say that you better go and check the parent band out, because this focused and well constructed slice of literate contemporary prog has captivated me. Even my mother-in-law quite liked it, but the orange cat? Aaah, that would be telling.
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