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Sphere3 - Comeuppance

Sphere3 - ComeuppanceIt has been a long time coming but Sphere3’s debut album Comeuppance finally sees the light of day.  Of course, we have already heard (and reviewed) Sphere3’s EP CD Paralysis last year and at least one track featured on a Cyclops sampler.   The band were the talking point at last year’s Whitchurch Festival and I understand that the demand for tickets for Sunday 4th August 2002, when they performed again at Whitchurch, was great.

As I personally have not seen them in a live environment, my experience of their music has been confined to MP3 samples and the EP CD.  So I was pretty keen to hear Comeuppance.

If I may refer back to my review of the EP, I said that somehow they managed to pack most of the things I like in prog in the space of the first two tracks. Tight performance, powerful, yet not overdone, chords full of exuberance and emotion, a theme which remains firmly implanted in the mind using instruments and styles not dissimilar to those of certain well known artistes, not to mention rib cage pounding bass.  Well, with Comeuppance I can expand on that and tell you that fusion abounds, so if you like your prog ‘jazzed’ up you’ll be ecstatic about this album.  53 minutes of pure class!

Often funky, the album consist of ten tantalising tracks, each a complex mix of prog and jazz.  And I make no apology for ‘gushing’ – you have to hear it to fully understand where I’m coming from.

I don’t think that a track-by-track analysis would be of any benefit to the reader.  Suffice it to say that the album is diverse yet fluid, sometimes heavy, sometimes mellow, always full of energy.  Yep, the band is tighter than a gnat’s proverbial.  On occasions I’m reminded of 70’s Camel, Steve Howe and YES sometimes in terms of the odd phrase and at others in the keyboards, guitar, bass and percussions sounds and style of playing.  A couple of tracks lend me to imagine a prog version of Level 42 purely because of the funkiness of the composition.  Highlight of the album is the whole album.  Interesting sleeve graphics too combining morphed pictures of instrument taken at weird angles and a cubist approach (probably the wrong terminology, but what do I know?) to spheres.

If NME staff took an interest in prog as they once did, they would surely name Sphere3 most promising band for 2002.  Hats off to Steve Anderson (guitars), Neil Durant (keyboards), William Burnett (bass) and Jamie Fisher (drums) for producing a potential best album of the year.  An incredible achievement for a debut album.

Jem Jedrzejewski


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