Esoteric Antenna 2013
The second emersion of the Oxford foursome in search of the lost chord brings them closer to the shore.
The submarine on the cover of 2012’s "Diving Bell" suggested a depth being fathomed, and there was a good deal of the promise on the surface. One year on, though, and the antenna signaling its follow-up catches too much of the extraneous waves to retain the quartet’s tentative singularity. These seven pieces might be divided into “sides” like in the vinyl days, but classical influences give way to neo prog influences now, and while “From The Ground Up” open it up with Joff Winks gentle picking his guitar and singing serenely, the melody gets diluted even on a dynamic surge of chorus, making it hard to tell it apart from “System For Solution”. Playing for the sake of it doesn’t help to catch the fire either.
“In Code” introduces some spice to the mix thanks to Matt Baber’s new age leanings and vibes, and “Phosphor” flows on as a fluorescent piano ballad with a delicate bass solo from Brad Waissman, yet “Day Of Release” fails to resolve its chorus into anything tangibly memorable. And then the three-part title comes on to wash the melancholy away with its frenetic delivery as well as imaginative, jazz-minded and acoustically tinctured arrangements that turn the flow into a sanguine one. 15 minutes of glory? Not too weighty and a tad shallow.