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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Signs of new modern prog life detected...
Quintessentially English, modern prog:
Short and long-form musical structures, layered sound and melodic guitar lines over keyboard washes.
Changes of tempo and time signature variations; tenor, high tenor or female vocals commonly utilised to compliment the soaring instrumentation and arrangements.
Usually takes its lead from classic 70's progressive rock;...
Published 18 months ago by R. Muir

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prog for sure but uninspiring!
Despite some excellent pedigree on this album (Mr Bass himself, Nick Beggs for example) this all sounds a little too pedestrian for me. Don't get me wrong the musicianship is top draw as you would expect from these musicians (John Young, Nick Beggs, Steve Rispin and appearances from prog legends Steve Hackett, Thijs Van Leer and Jakko Jakszyk). It should be great but it...
Published 3 months ago by Wrax


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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Signs of new modern prog life detected..., 28 Jan 2013
By 
R. Muir "fabricationsHQ" (Prestwick, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
Quintessentially English, modern prog:
Short and long-form musical structures, layered sound and melodic guitar lines over keyboard washes.
Changes of tempo and time signature variations; tenor, high tenor or female vocals commonly utilised to compliment the soaring instrumentation and arrangements.
Usually takes its lead from classic 70's progressive rock; musically influenced by early-era Genesis and a smattering of YES in vocal arrangements and harmonies.

Some bands successfully create their own sound within the above template; others think a little outside the box and expand or even challenge the genre.
But many sink into the murky progressive waters, weighed down by a prog-by-numbers predictability and ponderous passages only their prog-mother could love.

Lifesigns, the new band project featuring John Young (keyboards, lead vocals), Nick Beggs (bass, stick, vocals) and Frosty Beedle (drums) intentionally and unashamedly follow the first of those three examples.

But the album is far more than "quintessentially English, modern prog" because Lifesigns carries elements of melodic rock and pop, has hooks a plenty and contains complex but not overly-complicated musical sections that never outstay their welcome.
The overall character of the album is best described as musically vibrant and bright, primarily due to the use of major keys and their uplifting, tonal qualities.

And for those that like their six-string prog sonics melodic solos, harmony lines and guitar textures are present and accounted for courtesy of guest musicians Jakko Jakszyk (Jakszyk, Fripp and Collins), Robin Boult (John Young Band) and prog luminary Steve Hackett.

The predictably progmospheric intro to `Lighthouse' leads to a simple but short melody line before it ebbs away and the song surfaces in all its modern prog glory.
Truly progressive in arrangement and featuring some driving bass runs from Nick Beggs, the song carries a melodic groove throughout its opening minutes before a reflective middle section calms the Lighthouse seas.
The instrumental finale, featuring waves of stormy but melodic guitar soloing, builds to a crescendo before dissipating to the sounds of thunder, sea birds and water lapping at the Lighthouse rocks.

The lighter and charming `Telephone' delivers both a perfect change of pace and more restrained sound.
The song could well be a relative of the Genesis soft-rock classic `Follow You, Follow Me' (albeit a second cousin once removed) and its rhythmic vibe owes as much to melodic ambient pop as progressive rock.

'Fridge Full of Stars' is also full of atmosphere, the ethereal mid-tempo number featuring lush vocal arrangements and some flute interjections from Thijs Van Leer of Focus.
It has some sumptuous, symphonic moments (not dissimilar to Swedish proggers The Flower Kings at their harmonic best) while lyrically capturing what the listener is hopefully experiencing:
"Watching the world go by, a smile upon his face..."
Couldn't have put it better myself.

'At the End of the World' builds from an almost melancholic and genuinely poignant beginning to a melodically rocking hook-laden number with "watch it burn, watch it fall!" lyrical finale.
The uplifting musicality of the song's end section is seemingly tempered by the lyrical slant but, as is the case throughout the album, the lyrics are open to listener interpretation.

The highlight of Lifesigns is the closer `Carousel,' featuring majestic rise and fall right from its rhythmic, pulsating get-go.
Dominated by John Young's keyboards and cathedral like sound-scapes, Nick Beggs and Frosty Beedle anchor the piece while driving the rock sections of the multi-faceted number.
A musically dynamic end to the album and a progressive soundtrack to the carousel of life.

There are some sublime moments on Lifesigns with each of the five tracks perfectly weighted for maximum effect.
And all within an album that clocks in at just less than 54 minutes (an EP by today's self-indulgent prog standards).

The band worked with sound engineer Steve Rispin to create a warm, layered sound and it's probably not over-stating the case to say Rispin is the fourth member of Lifesigns, certainly as regards the studio band.

"I'm calling out, too far to hear..." cries the plaintive voice of John Young in `Lighthouse.'

I hear what you're saying just fine, John; I just hope and trust many others do, too.
Because these Lifesigns deserve to be detected well beyond the borders of Planet Prog.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Prognostification, 31 Mar 2013
By 
C. Jacobs "iqsadact" (Notts UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
I'll keep it simple, bloody well buy it!! If you like complex time structures and tempo changes then this is for you. Remember years ago when you had exhausted all music and were looking for more, but not more of the same, then this is exactly that. Five pieces of sheer brilliance all merging to create a lovely work. I ordered it has to be said on the strength that Mr Hackett had it mentioned on his web site, without listening and was not disappointed
COME ON CHERRY RED GET THIS OUT ON 2lp ASAP. We music lovers and prog aficionados are begging you.
Asan aside also get The Rome Pro(g)ject also including two of the best pieces by one Mr Hackett.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifesigns Loved it, 3 April 2013
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
Thought I'd give this album a go after seeing who was involved. That can be risky I know but this was a gamble that really paid out. Listened to it twice back to back and love it. Yes it does have a proggy feel but it doesn't feel it was done by numbers. Does have a really English sense to it. I didn't find myself playing spot the influence as much as can happen with prog albums. It came across as their sound. I hope they tour and do more stuff.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic rock at it's best, 28 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
Yes, it is prog, but very much "progressive". Great musicianship, but really accessible - the virtuosity complements the excellent melodies and is not there for it's own sake. Unlike much music of this ilk, it gels on the first listen and only gets better as familiarity increases. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes Yes, Genesis, Asia etc but with the difference that this is very much a product of the 21st century!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifesigns, peering into the cosmos with your feet still on the ground., 13 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
Lifesigns is an album which does not come this way too often. A fusion of several musical styles, its roots are firmly in the classic 70s prog era, its vision peering somewhere out there deep into the cosmos itself.

John Young, its composer, keyboards player and lead vocalist, has waited a long time to deliver an album of such innate loveliness, and thankfully, his inner quorum of bass virtuoso Nick Beggs, drummer Frosty Beedle and producer Steve Rispin, were the ones on hand to help him achieve it.

Although at its heart is prog, there are many other themes and styles woven into its sonic tapestry, including classical, a touch of jazz and even some AOR, courtesy of the very accessible and commercial Telephone, full of tight harmonies from Young and Beggs, with guitarist Jakko Jakzsyk making a huge contribution to its breezy tone. At The End Of The World has a cosmic edge through its zingy keyboards and spacey atmospherics, all ending on a very high note.

Lighthouse is the tour de force opener, its driving melody and elaborate instrumentation eventually giving way to an enormous wall of sound courtesy of Beggs' sonorous bass pedals and Robin Boult's soaring guitar and an apocalyptic thunderstorm.

Encapsulating the heady essence of prog is Fridge Full Of Stars, bursting with stellar performances from the inner quorum plus Thijs Van Leer on flute and Steve Hackett on guitar. It is a wonderful example of how music can move the spirit and uplift the senses in equal measures.

The captivating Carousel brings the album to a fitting climax through a frenzy of sound from Beggs' Chapman stick, Beedle's energetic drumming and Young's myriad keyboards. However, it is Young's clear, melodious voice that comes into its own here, either climbing the dizzy heights of the scales or drenched in plaintive emotion for the heart-rending "I Feel The Wind" vocal section.

It is down to the technical powers of Rispin that the whole album occupies its own space sonically, capturing the artistry of the musicians along with an overarching "head in the clouds, feet on the ground" dynamic.

If you want to introduce the wider world to the wonders of prog and indeed, beautiful thoughtful music made by people who love and care about their craft, then you cannot go wrong with Lifesigns, a life-affirming album which will carry on playing on in your mind long after its journey on CD or vinyl ends.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great prog album. Buy it now, 29 Jan 2013
By 
Gregory Bird (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
I am not what you would call a die hard fan of prog music. Some of it leaves me cold, but this offering is the complete opposite of that. The 5 lengthy songs keep the listener hooked all the way through. The arrangements, melodies, musicianship and production are second to none, each blending together to offer a perfect piece of prog rock mastery. I cannot recommend this album enough to lovers of the genre, and also to those who, like me, simply appreciate good, real, intelligent music regardless of genre.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars People will have to work VERY hard to top this in 2013, 10 Feb 2013
By 
Mr K I Waye (Harrow,, Middlesex. United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
I buy a lot of CDs and downloads but when I heard this album for the first time it shouted CLASS, The songwriting is beautiful, the vocal arrangements and performance are very moving and the musicianship is outstanding. I can't find a single thing wrong with this release. In fact I am listening to it as I type this and have a lump in my throat. Music can move you to to tears can't it? Thank you to everyone involved in bringing this exquisite release to fruition.

Buy it now and when you listen to it you will see exactly what I mean.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifesigns is a brilliant album, 31 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
It really is brilliant.
I'm hard to please especially when it comes to prog rock. Years ago I loved many bands from that genre (Genesis, Yes, Floyd etc.) and this album takes me back to the time of long, hot summers, patchwork jeans, long hair and lovely josticks - with a truly modern twist and production we could only have dreamed of back then. I adore it!
Reasonably priced too.

So glad I came across it in its first week. I can say I was there at the beginning ;)
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely magnificent, 31 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
This album is a masterpiece - the writing is wonderful, the musicianship awesome.
If you like progressive rock, then buy this album!!

Bob Cheetham
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Prog for sure but uninspiring!, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Lifesigns (Audio CD)
Despite some excellent pedigree on this album (Mr Bass himself, Nick Beggs for example) this all sounds a little too pedestrian for me. Don't get me wrong the musicianship is top draw as you would expect from these musicians (John Young, Nick Beggs, Steve Rispin and appearances from prog legends Steve Hackett, Thijs Van Leer and Jakko Jakszyk). It should be great but it really is only good at best. You may like it, you should probably buy it but I doubt I will go back to it too often.
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