Image © InsideOut Music America 2003
(11 May 2003) Well, what can one say about a new Jadis album? I do like this band very much
and find their brand of accessible, almost poppy prog rock very appealing,
and very summery. It's just the sort of bright, breezy and uplifting music
that makes me want to sit out in the garden on a hot day and relax. It's
with that thought in mind that I have decided to write this review in my
back garden on a wonderful summer Sunday afternoon, just to get me in the
On first listen, I often find Jadis albums slightly formulaic and
occasionally samey. But you usually need to spend a little time with
them for them to sink in and truly appreciate them. That was very much
the case with this album. I initially thought here we go again. All
the usual trademarks are there; the Chandler/Orford harmonies, the
jangly guitars, the catchy melodies etc. But I have lived with this
album for a whole week now, and I would say it is certainly as good
as anything they have done up until now.
Opener "The Great Outside" is a rousing, mid-paced rocker, with a
raunchy, almost Zeppelin-like opening riff, giving way to some soaring
guitar lines from Gary. A very good song, but the best is yet to come.
"Into Temptation" kicks off with some bright, clean guitar chords
before settling down into a bouncy little number. And is it me, or
did the main riff seem slightly reminiscent of Zeppelin's "Black Dog"?
Hmmm, there's another Zeppelin reference. Gary pulls off a couple of
superb solos on this one, the second one very heavy on the wah-wah,
building to a superb crescendo near the end that I know is just going
to sound terrific live.
"Each And Everyday" begins with some retro-style drum machine sounds,
but Gary's voice is really on top form here. We get some of the trademark
'na-na-na' vocals again, but who's complaining? A gentle, laid back song
that just gets better each time I hear it. Some intricate drum rhythms
signal the opening to "I Never Noticed." A very listenable song, but
it has yet to grow on me. It bounces along quite merrily and Gary's
guitar work (slightly Dave Gilmour-ish here) is always top notch,
ncluding some wonderful harmonics. I believe this track also contains
the only keyboard solo on the album.
The title track, however, is the piece de resistance. It starts with
some spacey, treated piano from Martin Orford, with some gentle sequencer
rhythms chugging along in the background. Close your eyes and you would
swear you were listening to Tangerine Dream. For a while it seems as
though the song is going to happily continue in this vein, until some
ethereal keyboards take centre stage, leading us into what is possibly
one of the best, and most exquisite guitar solo's I have heard for
years. The sheer emotion that Gary rips out of his guitar on this one
almost had me in tears. I suspect Gary must be influenced somewhat
by Andy Latimer of Camel, as it is highly reminiscent of Andy's
style of guitar playing.
Some more of Gary's beloved guitar arpeggios take us into "Yourself
Alone," another favourite track. This has a superbly catchy chorus that
has been going round in my head for a couple of days now. I can certainly
see myself singing along to this one at the next gig. "Take These Words"
is another bright and breezy number that has some more wonderful guitar
lines from Gary. I suppose you could describe this track as proto-typical
Jadis, as it contains all of the familiar elements Those who like the
band will love it, those who don't won't--it's that simple.
"What Kind Of Reason" is the longest track on the album, and one which
took me a while to warm to, but I really like it now. It begins as a
very laid back acoustic number, but Gary's voice really shines on
this one, very powerful and emotional. As if this was not enough, he
also throws in another blistering guitar solo.
It's at this point that I thought the album took a bit of a dip in
quality. "Who Can We Be Sure Of" just did not work for me. The slightly
dissonant nature of the chorus seemed at odds with the rest of the
material on the album, and there seemed to be a few too many
superfluous changes thrown in. Similarly with the closing track, "The
Flame Is Burning Out." This one again seemed to be trying to be just a
little too heavy for my tastes.
A fine album then, with perhaps just a couple of below par tracks. Like
most of Jadis output, it will please fans of the band most certainly,
though is unlikely to win many new converts.
Read further reviews, listen
to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com
But if like me you are one of the converted, there is much here to enjoy.--John Morley
Jadis: Live at The Brook, Southampton, 07 May 2003
You know, I am beginning to feel like the Alan Whicker of
progressive music, travelling to all these far-flung
exotic locations to spread the good word to wonderful
people out there. And this journey took me to the outer reaches
of Southampton--The Brook in Southampton to be exact, to see
A taped intro heralds the arrival of Jadis on stage, it
actually being a section of the title track from the new
album Fanatic. I had hoped that they may actually play this
track, but it was not to be. Shame, as in my opinion it
contains some of the best guitar work Gary Chandler has
In fact, the opening track was "Yourself Alone," another piece
from the new album. Heavier live than on record, it has one
of those wonderful sing along choruses that the band seem
able to produce quite effortlessly. A very good opener.
"Where In The World" followed, an efficient reading of the song,
but I have heard them play it better. Seems at this point as
though the band still need to warm up and hit their stride.
A word about the sound at this point: The Brook being a
reasonably small venue, it cannot be easy to get a decent
mix. The effect that came across that night is that the
drums seemed to dominate. I could not hear John Jowitt's
bass as well as I would have liked, similarly with Martin
Orford's keyboards. Gary's guitar was coming through loud
and clear, though. Not a terrible mix, but not the greatest.
"Take These Words" was up next, another new track. I am glad
I have spent time with the new album this past week, as this
is where the band really started to come alive. Gary's guitar
work on this one was nothing short of excellent, and drummer
Steve Christey was kicking up hell of a storm at the back.
Guess they have just hit their stride
Another great favourite and Jadis standard is "Daylight fades,"
with those familiar jangly opening chords. It's a wonderful,
uplifting piece of music with yet another appealing chorus
and again some great guitar work from Gary.
"What Kind Of Reason" then slowed the pace down somewhat, starting
out as a gentle acoustic number, but with some passionate
singing from Gary, and a rousing guitar solo to bring the
song to a satisfying conclusion.
A mention must go here to the more than capable vocal talents
of Martin Orford--as well as being a superb keyboard player,
his backup vocals more than adequately compliment Gary's
singing. They manage to produce some exquisite harmonies
between them. It was at this point that I realised that sitting
in the balcony was a bit of a double edged sword. Yes, it was
nice to sit down and get a good view of the band, but it
appeared to me that a lot of the people upstairs were not
actually fans of the band, rather people who had just
wandered in to see what was going on.
One of my all time fave Jadis songs is "Wonderful World,"
from the album More Than Meets The Eye. Tonight's version
was a powerful, emotional tour-de-force. Steve Christey
really shone on this one, producing some superb drum fills,
effortlessly tearing across his kit with lightning speed.
Gary appeared to be making his guitar literally sing h
here--absolutely mesmerising. This is Jadis at their best,
firing on all six cylinders. Some intensely emotional vocals
from Gary signal the opening of "In Isolation," a track that
always reminds me of Genesis' "Squonk." An efficient, if
occasionally messy, version of the song.
Talking of favourites, we also got my all time favourite
Jadis track "Sleepwalk." I just love this one, and they
didn't disappoint. This was perfection itself. I was
jumping around in my chair and playing imaginary drums
and guitar on this one, but dammit I was enjoying myself
even if no one else around me was making an effort.
For an encore, we got another of the bands classic epics,
"The Beginning And The End." A guy sitting next to me
remarked that this is as good as anything Yes, Genesis,
Floyd etc have ever written. And who am I to argue? Gary's
guitar was spot on here, effortlessly switching between
gentle chords and searing, melodic solos whilst often
singing at the same time. And the solo at the end of
this one was one of the best of the evening.
Sadly, it was a rather short set, about 100 minutes worth,
but 100 minutes of sheer quality. Rather than leaving me
with a sense of disappointment, it just left me anxious
to see them again--and soon.--John Morley