Once again FATEA stretches the acoustic spectrum boundaries to their limits and beyond with an album kickstarted by those who've recognised the Kerzner potential from his previous solo work. The name may be familiar to those who've encountered Simon (son of Phil) Collins' Sound Of Contact project in which Dave plays a big part, yet he's more recently trodden a solo path, working with some impressive names in the progressive rock field and initiating his own solo adventures with the concept album 'New World'.
The stars are out in force again on 'Static', Steve Hackett, Colin Edwin and Nick D'Virgilio should need no introduction to any rock music fan, as their cameos contribute alongside the regular Kerzner band who take the increasingly familiar concept of clutter and chaos in everyday life - addressing politics, media, narcissism, ego and jealousy amongst others - into what's been called a 'progressive rock opera'. Taking on what good old Roger Waters might ask, "is this the life we really want?"
The influences that feed into the Kerzner writing and arrangements are impossible to overlook. In his aim to bring "my favourite qualities of classic rock and prog albums," he's simply wired into a contemporary progressive rock way of doing things. A Nick Beggs/Mute Gods anger accompanies 'Hypocrites' that runs out in an early Floyd/Syd Barrett groove thus beginning a journey that blends styles in a merging of rock with melody, instrumental finesse and utilising the famous McBroom sisters on backing vox.
The "twisted Broadway with vintage rock flavours" plays out a musical accompaniment to the disturbing retro-future dystopian images that follow from the cover art into the CD booklet as the title track talks of "the curse of discontent." Be careful you don't misread Floyd's Nick Mason contributing 'Sonic Reality' drums - just one of the FX bouts of trickery that pepper the record. It's a track that along with the piano based songs 'Trust' and 'State Of Innocence' owe more than a nod to the McCartney/Lennon/Jeff Lynne school of songwriting and highlight the Kerzner stock in trade: quality singer songwriter compositions with the imagination to develop into longer form musical areas.
The central track 'Dirty Soap Box' where "leaders post their tweets obscene" is where Hackett and D'Virgilio add the icing although eyes and ears will step right up ("we've got everything here" says it all about the track) to the grandly designed sixteen minutes of the multi part 'The Carnival Of Modern Life'. Possibly influenced by ELP's 'Karn Evil 9' packed with sights and sounds to enrich the mind in ways in a cautionary tale that ultimately warns us to take a look at ourselves.
With moments of reflection and tranquillity sitting aside bursts of darker and more ambitious arrangements, 'Static' is another expansive and thought provoking adventure.
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