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Julian Garner - Doublethink

Julian Garner - DoublethinkJulian is no stranger to The Hairless Heart Herald having previously been in a band called Rook, whose demo tape was reviewed sometime back in 1994 by Chris White.  When Rook disbanded, Chris’s editorial commented “What impressed me most about Rook was that, given their youth (in musical/gigging terms), they had already produced a distinctive signature of their own.  While most bands start by emulating their heroes (and there's nothing wrong with that, we all have to start   somewhere, so long as we move forward), Rook came off the blocks with a very clear sense of musical direction.  It's particularly sad then, that I have to report their demise so soon after praising them. However, all is not lost. Julian Garner who sang and played keyboards with Rook is currently working on new projects and, judging from the tape he recently sent me, it sounds as if the core of the Rook sound will be heard again”.

Well, that was then and with one album to his name, Julian has now released his second, Doublethink.

Doublethink consists of twelve tracks, eight penned by Julian, three by Richard Fuell and one in collaboration with Richard. Substantially a solo album, guest musicians feature on some tracks, notably drums, cello and some additional guitar and vocals.

The big surprise is that Julian has, so far, been unable to secure a record deal.  With a grand budget including TV promotion the first track alone should create instant sales among a diverse audience.  I suppose that it illustrates the state of the business today – those with talent are forced to go it alone – only manufactured bands, and I use the term ‘bands’ loosely, are favoured by the majors.

I could continue this review in time honoured fashion by wading through each track highlighting nuances, influences etc. yet I know that I would be unable to find the words to do this work justice.  Instead, I shall try and summarise.

All songs are strong and instrumentals and vocals excellent.  This is neither heavy prog nor light prog, yet has prog influences, which particularly shine in the arrangements.  Influences abound, from The Beatles to Yes, from mid to late Genesis (not a bad thing in this context!) and It Bites to Squeeze with a smattering (is that a word?) of Anthony Philips (even a little Hackett on track 9 ‘Haunted’) and Joe Jackson (Different for Girls – indeed).  These influences are just that – influences.  The songs are unique and have their own Julian Garner stamp.  You won’t find that parts of Eleanor Rigby or Then There Were Three have been borrowed; only the ‘feel’ of such influences have been incorporated.  This is a CD your girlfriend/boyfriend would like.  Even if they don’t, and let’s face it, some people haven’t a musical bone in their body; you will be pleased to have it as part of your collection. So get your chequebook out and make a cheque out to the value of £10 (within UK) payable to 'Renrag Promotions' and addressed to Renrag Promotions, PO Box 4032, Blandford Forum, DT11 8YE.  If you wish to order outside the UK, please contact Julian via his website (details below)

If you visit Julian’s website www.renrag.co.uk you will find some sound samples from the CD but be warned – they are too short to do it justice!  Meanwhile I am just on my tenth listen.  Can’t be bad.

Jem Jedrzejewski

www.renrag.co.uk

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