Blue Shift

Not the Future I Ordered

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Imagine for a moment: Yes invite Keith Emerson of ELP over for a song or two. Word gets out of a big-name rock group recording in the works, so Genesis -- that's in the Steve Hackett era, mind you -- show up. Steve Howe nervously agrees. Jon Anderson gets the idea to invite Supertramp for some vocals. Roger Hodgson says that's cool. Led Zeppelin refuses to attend, but OKs a redo of "Immigrant Song." Paul McCartney offers to write some Beatlesque passages and song structuring. In the new version of "Immigrant Song," Keith Emerson does a mean organ lead break/finale in that "Knife Edge"/"Barbarian" mood. All is set, the backup tapes rollin', digital-to-digital bytes pulsing, no jacks here -- it's an all-soldered set-up, and then you wake up... None of the superstars are here, but the talented music of Blue Shift remains a near-perfect mirror of all of them. Stewart Meredith's vocals are so Yes and even Supertramp on "Rome" that it is simply a delight to wrap yourself in them. Mark Barton on keys and Joey Backenstone on guitars work precise ELP/Yes magic throughout. Tight drumming drives it all along due to the groove Steve Sklar throws down. Meredith can sing all he wants. His crooning evokes a dreamy land that's home to nostalgia -- the search for the golden chord. Blue Shift have a strong ability to write interesting material that's not copycat, but springboards off a solid foundation laid down by the old masters of progressive rock. You'll also hear signature Beatles hooks everywhere. Listen for the Asia and '90s-era Yes here and there, too. Not the Future I Ordered is enjoyable and listenable time after time. Look out 21st century, here come Blue Shift -- cruisin' the fast lane.

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