It had been quite some time since Jadis last released two consecutive studio albums with the same lineup, but Fanatic features the same quartet as 2000's Understand: singer, guitarist, and songwriter Gary Chandler, drummer Steve Christey, keyboardist Martin Orford, and bassist John Jowitt (the latter two best known for their tenure in IQ). The group's brand of catchy pop/rock with neo-progressive elements is not everyone's cup of tea and Fanatic will not turn detractors into born-again fans, but it has its strong moments. The biggest one hits you in the face right from the start: the opening "The Great Outside" stands as one of the group's best-ever songs, powerful rock with a melody that is immediately memorable. "Into Temptation" and "Each & Everyday" don't have that kind of strength. "I Never Noticed" sidesteps the light neo-prog format to deliver an arena rock anthem. "Take These Words" illustrates the bond uniting Jadis and IQ -- the soaring guitar theme would feel at home on Subterranea or The Seventh House. Clocking in at over eight minutes, the ballad "What Kind of Reason" overcomes its stay, but it gives Chandler an occasion to display the seduction of his well-trained rock voice (why does one think of GTR's Max Bacon?). In short, Fanatic is the product of an experienced band doing what it was already doing a decade earlier. No surprises, but no disappointments for the converted.
by François Couture