The Rising's latest review by Rob Fisher
“Above the towers of prayer and hope
Polishing their Poundshop halos by the score
They’ve never seen the ground below
Whispering their fallacies behind closed doors.”
(A Million Heartbeats)
Some lyrics instinctively catch your attention; they have a unique and provocative ability to capture a mood, a feeling, a sentiment with a clarity and a focus which instantly conveys the meaning of what is being communicated. The searching lyrics woven in and through the ESP Project’s magnificent third studio album, The Rising, carry a beguiling beauty and an incisive gravitas which elevate this release into the realms of something special.
Damien Child possesses that uncanny ability to blend the alluring artistry of poetry with clear-sighted insights drawn from noticing episodes of the life we live and the state of the world in which we live.
“We are dandelion seeds
Floating on the winds of
Space and time
The parallel lines
Through hydrogen skies.”
The tranquil elegance of the observations are perfectly aligned with the penetrating vision we are being offered. Struggling in all the ways we can to make it through each day:
“I’m drawing lines around my ego
Doing all I can to face a better day
A fleeting carnival
An echo of a spark
For one, glorious life
Each moment is where we belong.”
(On Lunar Tides)
The entire album is infused, inspired and, indeed, animated by the playfulness of the language being used and the possibilities it opens for us to experience delicate moments of discernment and appreciation.
Lyrics alone, however, are nothing without a matching musical canvas against which they can spread and find expression. Tony Lowe’s songwriting is utterly intoxicating. Delightful soundscapes are entwined around sophisticated, carefully crafted structures. Alluring melodies echo across intense, shifting rhythms; gorgeous harmonic layers segue through wonderfully elegant shifts of mood and intensely creative changes of atmosphere. The sheer scale and extent of the musical vision is mesmerising.
On Lunar Tides is a dazzling example of what this album does best. The longest track at over ten minutes, the combination of changes, not just in rhythms and tempo but also in the shifting prominence given to the different instruments involved, contrasted with vocals which permeate each transition create a spell-binding ebb and flow to the musical experience.
The languid, teasing guitar and haunting vocal which open Stranger In My Skin has a chilled, dreamy mood before transforming into an upbeat chorus and refrain, sounding a note of temporary alarm and urgency before sinking back to the calmness of the original beat and a fantastic guitar solo which gently lifts and carries you along. Yet the urgency returns, this time transforming into a fast-paced, pressing rhythm building to a tingling crescendo.
In all of this, Greg Pringle’s drumming brings a seemingly effortless vitality and dynamism. The opening salvo of the title track is a disciplined injection of driving pace and sustained attack. This is mirrored in the glorious Flowers In The Snow; an upbeat burst of momentum drives the song forward until a natural entropy changes the velocity of the music to a more gentle, calmer beat. New World Disorder is a veritable clinic in the range of tones and textures it is possible to achieve with a drum kit. Formidable.
If you get the chance to isolate the basslines, Pete Clark provides something of a masterclass in the art of skilful and ingenious bass playing. The Rising in part isolates the bass for you, opening a window which lets you focus on a fabulous, pulsating bassline which underpins the entire track. A Million Heartbeats carries the same spirit and enthusiasm but this time yields to a more relaxed, refined and deft contribution. Once you hear and become aware of what he’s up to, listening to the subtlety and nuance he brings to each song adds a different character and dimension.
By the time we reach the end, music and lyrics blend as one in a glorious upsurge of hope and optimism: “Trust your heart / A new day is coming / Trust your heart”. The brilliant thing is, such is the depth of the emotion and the musical excitement of the journey we have been on, you believe it – whole-heartedly. “A million heartbeats turn a tide” leaves us with something to which we can aspire and a confidence that this is no wishful thinking.
This is an album brimming with invention and imagination, where exceptional instrumental artistry embraces a rich lyrical poetry to create tantalising musical sketches to surprise and delight in equal measure. Highly recommended.
Rob Fisher - The Progressive Aspect
ESP Project have a new album out for pre-release
Back with a sharp rise in temperature, the new ESP Project album, The Rising, is upbeat and powerful. This tight four piece band roars through a landscape sculpted by the powerful and moving music of Tony Lowe, coupled with insightful and heartfelt lyrics of Damien Child with his versatile and poignant vocals. With guitar and keys by Tony Lowe, the passionate grooves of Pete Clark’s bass, underpinned by the intense energy of Greg Pringle’s drums, this album takes the listener to another level in the ESP catalogue. PRESS RELEASE
The Rising is available for pre-release now! Release date is 11th October 2019 with an album launch gig in London on the 16th October 2019. Get tickets Here
Greg Pringle rolls up for CIRCU5
Greg has joined CIRCU5 - the project of multi-instrumentalist Steve Tilling (TC&I). Joining Greg and Steve are Mark Kilminster (ex-Tin Spirits) on bass and vocals, and Matt Backer (Julian Lennon) on guitar and vocals.
Think CIRCU5… think 'XTC' and 'Yes' poured into a blender, mixed with a dash of 60s vocal harmonies and lashings of hard-driving rock. But while certain influences spring to mind, CIRCU5 exists in its own world of adrenalin-rush anthems, addictive choruses and goose-bump melodies. For evidence, check out the irresistibly catchy 'The Amazing Monstrous Grady', 'Stars', and the epic 'The Chosen One'.
Vocals and Guitar:
Guitar and Vocals:
Bass and Vocals:
"It's great not being the sole freak in CIRCU5 anymore," said Steve. "Greg, Mark and Matt are world-class and bring a fresh edge to the music. We can't wait to get out there."
The debut CIRCU5 album was released in September 2017 to global acclaim. Reviews highlighted its strong melodies, lush harmonies, and instrumental twists and turns – with an intriguing story about a child raised as a psychopath in a secret government experiment.
CIRCU5 debuts live at Fusion festival in Stourport on 24 March, followed by shows at The Fiddler's Elbow in London on 28 March (with IT and Tom Slatter), The Water Rats in London on 14 June (with Mellotronanism), and The Cellar Bar in Devizes on 16 June.
To find out more about CIRCU5 and the debut album (available on CD in a book-style package with a 28-page booklet, download card and 'secret' document), visit www.circu5.com
Greg Pringle with ESP
Tony Lowe’s ESP Project is back with four great new tracks. Titled ‘three‘, the new EP contains over 30 min of progressive rock and is out on 19th January. ‘three’ has all the hallmarks of the first two ESP releases, with Tony’s symphonic compositions and arrangements weaving in and out of evocative and passionate vocal sections, delivered with both sensitivity and power in all the right places by Damien Child, an accomplished actor and singer with many years experience in TV, Radio and West End Theatre.
With Greg Pringle on Drums and Pete Clark on Bass this is a formidable combo of accomplished musicians playing with heart and soul. Threaded through by Tony’s unmistakeable guitar and keyboard playing, a must for anyone who liked the previous two albums, which together were given over twenty-six, 4 – 4.5 star reviews by the music press and voted into the top 10 Progressive Rock – albums of the year as well as in top 20 albums of 2018.
Tony and Damien will be working on a new album for an autumn 2019 release; in the meantime, as an introduction, ‘three’ will be available on Bandcamp as a CD and digital download from 19thJan, and then the usual digital outlets.