To Follow Polaris by The Tangent

Release date: May 10, 2024
Label: InsideOut Music

Once the Hammond organ, and the synthesisers coming bursting out of the tunnels with ‘The North Sky’ you know you’re on this special momentum that’s waiting for you from Andy Tillison. And now The Tangent have continued to prove once more that Andy’s back in action, stronger than before, and kicking a huge amount of ass with his latest album on the InsideOut label, To Follow Polaris.

And that’s how progressive music is supposed to sound. More of the symphonic approaches, lyrical structures that have an illustrated scenery, and being true to form. Andy is very much the mad scientist when it comes to singing. And as a multi-instrumentalist, he’s bringing his ideas to life in all of its glory. He’s been doing this for 22 years when he launched The Tangent. So, the question remains, how does Andy bring so much mystery and wonder behind this new album? Well, let’s take deep dive into this bad-boy.

The moment he goes into this frantic insane nightmare that’s unveiling in front of our eyes on ‘A Like in the Darkness’ after the gentle, soothing acoustic, and jazzier arrangement in the first five minutes of the song, he steps up to the plate (baseball term) and goes into a static blare between his keyboards, drums, bass, and insane arrangements that’ll make you go insane for the rest of eternity.

He puts us in Arkham Asylum, meeting the criminals who have wanted to put the Dark Knight down for good. Tillison shows that each of the characters we’ve met, will never change once they leave the loony bin. Because they have proven themselves, they will go back to their old ways and never come back to who they were originally.

‘The Fine Line’ does bear a striking resemblance to Miles Davis’ ‘Freddie Freeloader’ from Kind of Blue, Steely Dan’s Aja, and the first Peter Gabriel solo album in 1977. With its Monk-like groove, Tillison knows his jazz material very well. He not only sings well, but also speaks like a beat poet, channeling Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg detailing how social media has taken its toll from everyone.

 

Then, and as Optimus Prime would put in the 1986 film, Transformers: The Movie, “to power a full-scale assault”. Andy goes full throttle with all of his equipment gear to launch a huge attack on the 21-minute suite ‘The Anachronism’ this is where he goes into this metallic mode, battling all of the gods with unexpected time changes, channeling Zappa, Gershwin, ELP, Crimson, and a moody psychedelic groove with mellotrons galore.

This a battle between Jekyll and Hyde as they have one final confrontation with a video-game like score that speaks of Galaga you would play either at a Pizza Parlor, Arcade section in the mall, or in your own living room, Tillison knows his stuff! How can you not have one final duel to create this intense climax in front of the big screen.

‘The Single’ takes us back home to Earth as Andy writes down all of the stuff from what has happened during the album’s vision. He lets everyone know to come up with their own ideas for what they’ve endured. They might have their own interpretation, listen to a few times in their own echo chamber to see what they’ve missed, and get back into action with a rocket ship that makes the jump to light speed.

While there’s the radio edit of ‘The North Sky’, Andy is far from over. Here, serving ‘Tea At Bettys Simulation’ which clocks in at 17 minutes, showcases a jazzier technique to prove that he’s more than just a Prog god. I hear the sounds of Hansson & Karlsson, The Ramsey Lewis Trio, Bitches Brew-era, The John Wetton years of King Crimson, coffee house effects in the background, Zappa, and Gentle Giant rolled into one.

What a great way to combine Jazz and Metal rolled into one by closing up shop. To Follow Polaris is another challenging story from The Tangent. Andy may have more surprises to come in the years and weeks to come. He has more ambition inside his heart to come up with even more brainstorming ideas. And who knows what the mastermind will come up with next.

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