The Tangent

Comm

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Addressing the effect that technological advances have had on society during the past 100 years, British prog rock outfit the Tangent's sixth studio album, Comm, shows that the band's ever-changing lineups haven't diluted their epic prog rock ambitions. Their first release since guitarist Luke Machin and drummer Tony Latham joined bassist Jonathan Barrett, saxophonist Theo Travis, and ever-present frontman Andy Tillison may only feature five tracks, but clocking in at nearly an hour, doesn't exactly suffer from a shortage of ideas. The cleverly titled opener, "The Wiki Man," is a sprawling 20-minute fusion of '70s proggy synths, vintage winding guitar solos, and dial-up modem bleeps, complete with several instrumental breakdowns, that highlights the pros and cons of the Internet age, while the equally lavish closer, "Titanic Calls Carpathia," is a 16-minute cinematic symphony that tells the story of the sinking ship's attempt to communicate by Morse code. While these mini rock opera bookends are undeniably thought-provoking and showcase the band's impressive musicianship, two of the three less complex song structures provide the album's most captivating moments. "Tech Support Guy" is a humorous tale about the chaos that ensues in a company when the go-to IT man goes missing, set against a backdrop of Hammond organ wizardry, fluttering flutes, and breezy sax hooks, while "Shoot Them Down" is a rare but convincing venture into melancholic territory with its warm mellow synths, bluesy riffs, and Tillison's gentle somber tones. "The Mind's Eye," a discordant and rather messy blend of frenetic rhythms, post-punk vocals, and metal riffs, suggests the bandmembers were wise to stick to their electronica-based strengths, but it's the only misfire on a challenging yet rewarding record from one of the contemporary British prog rock scene's most consistent and uncompromising outfits.

blue highlight denotes track pick