Quarter of century down the line, English art rock ensemble are still in ascension – on tour and en route to paradise.
It surely is “Road Skill” rather than “Roads Kill” in the title of this CD and DVD package which captures LANDMARQ in action. There’s even more mileage than ever now that Tracy Hitchings resides in Australia, but the increased distance seems to have magnified the inner and external pull of the band who are celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2015. The quintet corralled the best pieces of their journey on the "Origins" collection to move on with the set based on their last album, 2012’s "Entertaining Angels" – and, though most of it was present on the “Turbulence” document from the last decade, there’s a new, past-studio maturity to the songs.
These days, the group demonstrate an emotional explosiveness giving a striking dynamics to “Calm Before The Storm” where, out of deceptively insipid start, Uwe D’Rose’s guitar and Mike Varty’s keyboards engage in a duel, and Steve Gee’s bass locks in with Danny Martin’s double-barrel drums in the end, while Hitching turns into a witch. Tracy’s grown into a dramatic actress, and her dance on a video-only opening vista “Mountains Of Anglia” is full of dignified elation. More so, the singer inhabits the expanse of “Personal Universe” that also comes as a showcase, especially on-screen, of her vocal technique, yet the whole ensemble conjure up an entrancing atmosphere on “Walking On Eggshells” and shape an uplift for “Glowing” whose sensual blues hold a magical moment of instrumental unison.
The band ride into an oxymoron of light gravity on “Thunderstruck” before letting it loose for the heroic rock soar on “Prayer” once its vibrant balladry is unraveled. Strange, then, that there’s a rather indifferent audience – people not moved even by the “Entertaining Angels” delight – that don’t greet, or don’t seem to recognize, songs to take off with the musicians. That’s the road-honed skill: to keep on rising. That’s why it feels there’s a new beginning around the bend.