Paradise9 – Showtime
A little while ago I was talking about how important it is for a reviewer to give an album more than one chance to prove itself before consigning it to Oblivion with a damning review.
Well, here we have an example of having to make sure the opposite doesn’t happen. When I received this disc I was pretty excited as I’d seen Paradise9 in concert the previous week and was raving about them at each & every opportunity. When I finally managed to sit down and listen to ‘Showtime’ I was completely knocked out because if there’s something that really impresses me it’s a band which comes up trumps both in the live situation and in the recording studio. And let’s face it, most bands do one of these well, but fall short with the other.
However I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t simple Muso-Infatuation that had caused the positive reaction on hearing the CD, so I decided to hold back on writing the review until I’d listened again and maybe let the record settle in my mind.
I’ve done that, now. In fact I think I’ve listened getting on for a dozen times – and believe me, I very seldom get the time or have the inclination to do that – only kids with a record collection of a mere handful of discs can normally afford to do that. I now feel I’ve reached a stage where I can pronounce upon the record without fear of changing my mind tomorrow or any time in the foreseeable future.
IT’S FCUK-ING MARVELLOUS!!!
In particular the first three tracks are all absolute crackers.
The opener, ‘Falling For You’, a droning invocation to prick up your ears and take notice. It’s got that Strummeresque attitude that I told you the band exhibited in performance. It’s one of those magical songs which constantly threatens to explode into a rip-roaring rocker but always somehow manages to hold off from that orgasmic ejaculation and leaves you yearning for more … and more. It should have been issued as a single. It would have been at number one for weeks. But then again, the charts don’t really warrant such quality music, do they?
Then we come to ‘Into The Ether’ which is an Hawkwind-like piece of spacey prog-rock of the first order only it’s better than most of the never-ending amorphous tripe Hawkwind churned out. The intro is an amazingly successful cross between Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd and Jean Michel Jarre, which exhibits all the hybrid vigour but none of the reproductive impotence [how’s that as a candidate for Pseud’s Corner?]. I’d love to hear this at a festival with 10,000 watts of amplification.
Track 3 - ‘All Said And Done’ is another sinister downbeat ditty which is underlined by a brilliant piece of fiddle playing somewhat reminiscent of that on Neil Young’s ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’ Album [– possibly the best LP ever released].
‘Showtime’ continues with another half dozen tracks developing variations on these basic patterns – all very good and highly listenable. That this album didn’t get picked up at the time of its release in 1999 is quite sad, but not really that surprising given the record biz’s fickleness and preoccupation with fashion. I do feel now though that especially given the partial revival in prog-rock [even though some of the new bands are pretty half-hearted] and some current empathy with fusion and crossover musics, that it might stand a chance of wider acceptance if re-released . I understand that Paradise9 are currently working on their follow up and we can but hope that some intelligent person from one of the big companies will pick it up and run with it.
NB - I have not been able to find a nickable image of the CD's cover art – parhaps the band can attach one for me in the comments section below. I did discover that both ‘Paradise9’ and ‘Showtime’ seem to have some fairly significant if rather abstruse literary meaning – one which I have not yet been able to follow up far enough to appreciate. Anyone want to enlighten me???