‘Rekindle the fire in my heart…’
Music is something that should speak to the soul. It can lift you through hard times and soothe when stressed. It can light the way and enlighten and can make for a great night of intimacy if Barry White’s deep timbre is your thing. (thang?)
The Tangent’s most outstanding moments in a ten album career have been consistent and frequent, and the best of those have been where the music and words speak to the soul in a way that is tangible and personable. Songs resonate with fans from all corners of the earth, from Japan to Peru and the U.S and Manchester. It’s the soul in the music that links everyone, as the words and emotions speak on a higher level. The politics of recent times can voice anger and frustrations but the universal messages of love, joy, fear and doubt (to name a few) speak loudest and to the most.
As complex and thought provoking as the songs have been over the years, a few have been taken to the fans’ hearts because of the simplest themes such as the loneliness of old age ‘In Earnest’ or the sadness felt at the hidden homeless of ‘Perdu Dans Paris’. We’ve been taken on American road trips and been stuck in traffic in the daily rush hour but the passion comes from core moments of the human condition that we all feel.
The newest of albums – ‘Proxy’ has many songs that will stand out as worthy additions to the canon. The political overhang of Slow Rust is there in the title track and the return of Supper’s Off serves to highlight the frustration of struggling bands against the glossy marketed bands of old that consume the market presence. Yet where Andy and the rest of the band really succeed in their latest release is the joyful, layered spirit in ‘The Adulthood Lie’.
Quite simply the track shines and should prove to be one that stands out as a key moment in the band’s career.
The Adulthood Lie is Andy Tillison’s EDM fused look at Ibiza and the dance culture therein. Controversially the sound itself may ruffle feathers but in truth the mix of beats and synth is truly progressive and holds true to the outline of what progressive music should be. It’s not a new concept in this fusion of sounds, Frost* and Galahad have mixed dance elements with rock over recent years.
Fans of The Tangent know well that the band do not stick to conventional progressive rock formats and The Adulthood Lie is no exception. Michael Akerfeldt of Opeth remarked in an interview that fans who were outraged at the musical change in direction ‘weren’t paying attention’ and the same can be said of the latest from The Tangent.
This isn’t to say that there is total reinvention. If anything there is plenty of the definable Tangent sound in the piece particularly the tones from the ‘A place in the queue’ period with hints of ‘GPS culture’ that playfully add colour.
The sonic landscape of the Adulthood Lie perfectly compliments the feeling of passion for music and dance. It’s about love and excitement for what music is all about and its pulsating backbone is inspiring and uplifting. There is an addictive quality to the beat that leaves the listener wishing for more.
‘Don’t tell me to act my age…’
The narrative behind the music is paradoxically simple and complex at the same time as Tillison paints a pretty picture of bliss in a warm evening in Ibiza and the way the music ignites the fire within. Deeper into the song we find a melancholic centre which deals with ageing and regret. It’s an often explored topic for Tillison’s lyrics and here the sense is that he wishes that he had done things differently in his 30’s and 40’s “I blinked and I missed it”.
The regret spills over into frustration at the loss of youthful opportunity and “pissing away the day” and some of the conceptions that he had then about the dance sound. “That’s not music”.
The beauty of the lyric “as I got older I let those dreams die”, is both profound and cutting.
As usual for the Tangent the long form songs take the listener on a journey. The resolution to The Adulthood Lie is that it’s not too late, “there’s still time…” The closing segment of the song brings back a sense of optimism and perhaps this life grabbing opportunism is borne of the return to health after heart problems seriously affected Tillison in the recent past.
We all feel some sense of regret of places we turned left and should have turned right, of how we took dogged viewpoints that in hindsight deprived us of opportunity. There’s truth in the saying ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ and this speaks to us all deep down of how we might do things differently if somehow we could return to our past and talk to our younger selves. Perhaps the lasting message should be that of the Red Hot Chilli Pepper’s track – ‘Deep Kick’ poached from the Butthole Surfers ‘Sweet Loaf’ – “It’s better to regret something you did than something you didn’t do.”
There’s magic in Proxy which will set the album apart from many of their previous releases and should put it into many fans favourite album shortlist. The quality of superb musicianship is ever present throughout from the groovy, funky bass of Reingold to the effortless fretboard skipping of Machin on guitar. They always augment the writing and raise it to a higher level of excellence. Crucially though, Tillison has bottled something this time around which is truly sublime.
The new album from The Tangent – Proxy is released on Inside Out records on the 16th November 2018. Available from the website: https://www.thetangent.org