(30 December 2009) Tilt is a new British progressive rock band comprised of players that have collaborated
with artists as diverse as KT Tunstall, Porcupine Tree, Stiltskin and Paolo Nutini. Their debut recording, entitled Million Dollar Wound (self-released (UK), 2009) is a stunning mini-album with five hard rock and progressive rock tracks.
A digital two-track single "Long Gone (edit)" featuring stunning vocal work by Kaela Rowan. The single's b-side is "No Superman" featuring an alternative guitar solo from Robin Boult. The single is "pay what you like" for a limited time.
The nucleus of Tilt consists of Steve Vantsis (bass),
Dave Stewart (drums) and Robin Boult (guitar). On this first release, Tilt are joined by guitarists John Wesley (Porcupine Tree) and Frank Usher (Fish). Keyboards and string arrangements are by Irvin Duguid (Paolo Nutini, Stiltskin) Guest singers include Paul Dourley, Holly Tomás and Kaela Rowan. The music was written, arranged and produced by Steve Vantsis. Contributions are credited to Frank Usher (guitars), John Wesley (guitars) and Nick Robertson (guitars). The album and digital single were recorded in Scotland, England and USA during 2009.
The mini-album's first track, "No Superman," is the hardest rock track in this release. Sung by Paul Dourley, the thick guitar-based stadium rock sounding arrangement includes a powerful and an extremely crisp rhythm section. We appreciated the use of keyboards to richen the arrangements and produce the backing harmonies. Dourley's vocal layers and the vast electric guitar solos give the track a live ambience.
Also led by Paul Dourley, "Answers" is the mini-album's epic, and somewhat gentler, progressive rock number. Swirling keyboard loops provide washes underneath the rhythmic guitar playing. Acoustic guitar balances the crunching rhythm of the electric guitars in the arrangements. Overall production is outstanding.
The remaning three tracks on the albums are sung by Tilt's two Scottish female guest artists. "Long Gone" is sung by Kaela Rowan (MySpace) whose career also includes a solo EP, recordings with Mouth Music and the Bevvy Sisters. Her vocals perfectly blend whispy with dulcit tones. With a great range and evocatively tender delivery, some will hear more than small allusions to Iona's Joanne Hogg and Magenta's Christina Booth in this light progressive number. The guitar solo perfectly compliments the vocal part. It's clear why the band selected an edit of "Long Gone" for their digital single.
"Gravity" and "Adore" are sung by Holly Tomás (MySpace). A singer songwriter with three of her own albums, her well enunciated and delicately delivered vocals present the strongest allusions to Rachel (Jones-Karnataka, Cohen-The Reasoning). "Gravity" is a ballad with vocal work right up front, instrumentals clearly providing the foundation and solo work in the bridge. We loved the orchestral arrangement and Holly's lush vocal harmonies.
Holly also sings the lead in "Adore," a warmly arranged and multi-layered ballad. Echo and reverb provide a great texture to her whispy delivery. Backing and outro vocals are provided by guest Lorna Bannon (Fish). A progressive masterwork, the tempo and instrumental style shifts contribute significantly to the interest. We loved the blend of the two singer's harmonies in the song's crescendo.
Tilt are a very promising band, and like Britain's The Reasoning, include tracks sung by both men and women. Their selection of Kaela Rowan and Holly Tomás to sing lead on three of the Million Dollar Wound mini-album's tracks is superb, and the overall production is outstanding. We can't wait to hear more from this band and their guest artists.