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Touchstone - Curious Angel

Touchstone - Curious AngelIt is always a pleasure, personally speaking, to find a new band emerging on the UK prog scene and Touchstone are such a band.  Consisting of Rob Cottingham (keys, vocals), Adam J Hodgson (guitars, backing vocals), Jona Sutch (bass, backing vocals) and Simon Cook (drums), the band was formed around 2003/4 and they have previously released two EPCDs.

The band may be new but the personnel have served their time with various other projects over the last few years, and bring those influences to bear in Touchstone.  They have already embarked on a number of gigs around the Home Counties and a little farther afield.

Their latest EPCD, Curious Angel, is a 26 minute four track voyage into the band's talents. They list numerous influences (see the band website, link below) but I can hear one or two styles within their music that they haven't mentioned.

The title track has an upbeat endearing quality, initially having a hint of a wistful Genesis leading to a heavier ELO type of 'thump'.  However, Rob's vocals strike me as being very similar to early Sabbath's Ozzy Osbourne, with backing vocals in a Spock's Beard style.  It is a step ahead of early IQ and Galahad type of prog in that the music flows comfortably from start to finish and sounds like one song rather than a number of good ideas strung together.

See The Light could almost be a Jadis song, the guitar and keyboard styles coming very close to that of Messrs Chandler and Orford.  Strong instrumentals and good vocals again though the latter are possibly a little too strong in the mix.

Being Hannah is just the sort of song I like to listen to when driving (car, not golf) with great vocal arrangements, delicate but purposeful verses and powerful verging on heavy metal choruses, the latter of which, again, has  a Black Sabbath sort of feel but perhaps I'm letting the vocals influence me too much.

Final track, Special, ignoring the prog arrangements for a minute, has an aura of an Alan Price (of The Animals fame) song (and also ignoring the short Lionel Ritchie 'Hello' reference)  and features some awesome guitar work from Adam.

That all said, Touchstone have something new and individual to offer and I can certainly see the band making a name for themselves on the prog circuit within a year or two if this disc is anything to go by.

Jem Jedrzejewski

Touchstone

 

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