Purple Pyramid 2013
Four decades on after their break-up, the classic proggers return in a timeless mode.
It might very well be a matter of perseverance, as Ray Bennett hinted at his old band’s new music back in 2002, and though it took FLASH another 10 years to pick up where they left off in 1973, it was worth the wait, the occasional live endeavor knocking them into shape. Not that the curvaceous shapes grace the album’s cover this time around, yet the veterans managed to restore their erstwhile curlicues-filled dynamic despite the line-up change that sees the bassist handle also guitars now, and Colin Carter’s voice shows no trace of wear and tear.
Linking their past to present, the duo, fleshed out with younger players, vibrantly bring the 30-year-vintage “Manhattan Morning” up to date but, style-wise, their music charts familiar territory into the future – never more so than on the soaring instrumental piece “Morpheum” or on “Something So Dark” connected via its many airy layers to the intense, if almost orchestral, “Night Vision” with its crepuscular luminosity and organ solo.
Darkness is fathomed here deeply well, and though a 9-minute take on NIN’s “Hurt” might seem like treading a commonplace, it’s not as grave as in the Man in Black’s version and not as gloomy as CHICKEN SHACK’s reading of it: punchy instrumental texture and high vocals add brighter hues to the blues that gradually takes in optimism and shoots skywards. With no conceptuality involved on the album level, guitar riffs and harmonies of “Into The Sun” are classic FLASH, a delicious fodder for any prog-starved raver, who’ll be happy to dig the taut, danceable groove of crystal cascades that form “Grand Canyon”. Still, it doesn’t get more cinematic than in the ivories-driven “Richerd Of Venice” and the sparkling rapids of “10,000 Movies”, which might as well be a description of the band’s modus operandi. Shine on brightly, then.