Of late there have been a raft of reissued, re-mastered albums from the “golden” prog years of the Seventies which allows the collector to increase their stash, or allow the newer fan to see what all the fuss was about. What we have here is a different thing altogether, an album of songs from a band’s ’70s period which have been given a fresh look alongside some new tracks.
So who are The Tirith? Hailing from Loughborough in Leicestershire, the band were previously known as Minas Tirith (a name no doubt familiar to Tolkien fans) during their Seventies period. They reformed in 2010 and played some select live gigs during 2011, the band including original members Tim Cox and Dick Cory supplemented by drummer Carl Nightingale who joined in 2012.
As mentioned earlier Tales From The Tower is an album of songs written, performed and reinterpreted by Cox and Cory, most of them dating from Minas Tirith days but rearranged, some with supplemented lyrics. The album took about three years to complete and was produced and mixed by Tim Cox.
There appears to be a theme running through some of the eleven tracks, notably The Tower which describes an alien structure on a distant planet and four other songs which are linked to this theme. The Tower is one of the earliest songs here being about forty years old. The album is a mix of hard and melodic rock, psychedelia and touches of prog, played with skill and enthusiasm. I found the songs still had a very ’70s feel to them, considering that they have been “reinterpreted”, which is not a criticism, just not what I had expected.
There are some audible influences in these songs which, at times, sound akin to early Rush with touches of Wishbone Ash. The last track, Lost, clocks in at just over ten minutes and starts in a Rush-like manner before evolving into a powerful song with some great guitar work. Pioneers of the Outer Arm supplies some great prog moments, both lyrically and musically, with more fine guitar work and is probably my favourite track here as it feels like the band are not taking it too seriously and just enjoying themselves.
Despite the ’70s feel it does not feel like a nostalgia trip. There is great energy in the playing and, whilst not ground breaking, the songs make for a good selection that is worthy of seeing the recorded light of day at last.
01. Farewell to Laurien (5:53)
02. Gin Lil (7:02)
03. Laurelae (4:42)
04. Home from the Sea (7:01)
05. The Daughter of the Water (6:49)
06. The Quest (4:06)
07. Gazing at Stars (5:34)
08. The Tower (3:04)
09. Songs of all Ages (5:50)
10. Pioneers of the Outer Arm (7:01)
11. Lost (10:03)
Total time – 67:00
Tim Cox – Guitars, Keyboards
Dick Cory – Bass, Acoustic Guitar, Synths, Vocals
Carl Nightingale – Drums
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 30th September 2015