Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
...a welcome prog resurrection ...
on 20 December 2010
The last time we heard from Ark, or should I say arK, it was 1992. Yup, it's eighteen years since"Spiritual Physics" was released, but we've heard plenty of music from bassman John Jowitt since then, as he's also popped up in IQ, Jadis, Frost* and Arena. But now he's resurrected arK for an album of hard rocking, prog tinged tunes. Because it does rock very hard for a prog album, but without tipping over into metal. A tricky balancing act, but one well managed. Fans of his other bands will find some familiar territory here, but with more than a couple of surprises.
Unlike some resurrections, they've got a quorum of original members. As well as Jowitt, the band now features original members Tony Short on vocals and flute, Pete Wheatley - lead guitar, Steve Harris - guitar synth, and new member Tim Churchman (formerly of Darwin's Radio) on drums. The band say that this is a collection of story based songs. "From the adventure of a child's mind at the excitement of going on holiday, to a chance meeting full of possibilities that can never be anything more, from ordinary people caught in an extraordinary conflict to what might lurk behind those suburban net curtains, to leaving the earth to escape man made destruction, each song tells a different tale."
As it was in the days of yore, arK stand out due to a lack of keyboards, something rare in a prog band, relying instead on a guitar synth, something that keeps their sound unique and rooted in rock. Add in a flute and you've got a mighty fine mix. There are plenty of memorable tunes for them to shine on, and none more so than the hard, agressive opener 'Boudicca's Chariot'. It's a good statement of intent for what is to follow, and has a melody that sticks to you like fudge in a heatwave.
Elsewhere, songs like 'Gaia', 'Kaleidoscope' and 'Eighth Deadly Sin' are chock full of excellent musicianship and memorable hooks, but with enough twists and turns to keep the more ardent progsters happy. Add is some top qulity guitar solos and this turns out to be a highly enjoyable if unexpected return.