I first heard Tony Patterson with Brendan Eyre on the album Northlands, a texture rich canvas of musical filmscapes reflecting on their Northern backgrounds. I liked it very much in my Southern nancy sort of way. Well not really, the joy of music is that there is no North/South divide. As it should be.
Tony Patterson is a solo artist/musician from the North East of England, best known as singer with Genesis tribute act ReGenesis. However, Tony has recorded a body of solo work as well as working for TV and short films. In 2006 he was one of twelve out of over fifteen hundred people to win the BBC ‘New Composers’ campaign where he got to work with top film composer George Fenton as well as getting the chance to work with the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Ghosts opens the proceedings, a sort of Armchair Theatre/Tales of the Unexpected feel, and would not be amiss as incidental music in Jonathan Creek. Tony is to my ear yet another admirer of Genesis and in particular Steve Hackett. Perhaps that should be fairly obvious given his tribute act association, but if you perform it, sometimes you don’t like to listen. It is an atmospheric track, but it does give some clues as to what is to come.
The Magdalene Fields has its ‘own special way’, and in that it sonically bears a resemblance to the Genesis track from Wind & Wuthering; it is not a copy or rip off, but it does express similar sentiments in its lyrics. I love it all the same, I did listen to Your Own Special Way afterwards – and it is a Genesis track I like – but I have to say that in terms of construction The Magdalene Fields has the edge.
Each Day A Colour sees brush strikes on canvas and Vangelis-like atmospherics to begin, then it does become a little background, easy listening music with a late ’60s/early ’70s feel before closing with a more prog-like element. Great in parts, good overall. Cast Away seems to take its lead more from the Alan Parsons Project than Genesis, though it does have a smidgeon of Anthony Phillips to it as well; it is very melodic, relaxing and appealing. It is nice, very nice in fact, but not memorable.
The Angel and The Dreamer comes in three parts; choral, a middle section that is a bit Genesis/Alan Parsons, and at the same time not unlike the music from the film Ladyhawke. It has the feel of a costume drama about it; medieval, at times dramatic, but to my ear, music to play with images. Even the introduction of synthesisers does not remove its persona dramatis.
Halcyon days are evoked by Beneath a Perfect Sky which is a little bluesy with a pinch of Parsons, well-seasoned with harmonies, simple piano and a relaxing backbeat.
Sycophant could have been the tune for Spectre, the last James Bond film; certainly better than the one that was eventually attached to the score. The guitar work in this track reminds me of Mike Rutherford. Genesis analogies abound. In terms of the here and now, the vocal treatment does seem to cross the decades, but a voice is a voice and it fits well with the music. The Eno effect would be the order for track 8, And When The Sky Was Opened, a little ambient house chill-out music that may be the Marmite of the album. It is quite soporific with a feeling that it is going to launch into something else but never does. Overall it fits, but if I was in a hurry I might skip it.
Pilgrim is lovely, it holds to its past but looks to its future, and the song reflects this. Dated? No I don’t think so really, the sax, synth and brass combine to create the mood, until solo percussion fades the track out and it fades into As The Lights Go Out, reminding yet again of Steve Hackett and his gentler, sometimes classical moments. It is kept simple, a perfect end to a perfect day, with possibly a touch of something a little creepy.
The Kindest Eyes is beautiful, “from the cradle to the grave”, a reflection on life, or of a life, but if it is a life that can produce music as warm as heartfelt as this then a life well spent. Like Northlands with Brendan Eyre before, this is an album that draws you in with repeated listen, ranging in styles and the landscapes it paints. It is an album on the whole for those periods of quiet reflection. I feel mellow.
01. Ghosts (4:01)
02. The Magdalene Fields (5:30)
03. Each Day A Colour (4:47)
04. Cast Away (2:35)
05. The Angel & The Dreamer (7:02)
– i. Vision
– ii. Journey
– iii. Reprise
06. Beneath A Perfect Sky (5:08)
07. Sycophant (5:23)
08. And When The Sky Was Opened (2:07)
09. Pilgrim (5:23)
10. As The Lights Go Out (2:44)
11. The Kindest Eyes (6:30)
Total Time – 51.10
Tony Patterson – Vocals, Piano, Keyboards, Guitars, Orchestrations, Flutes, Programming & Extras
Nick Magnus – Programming (2 & 11), Keyboards & Programming (3)
Doug Melbourne – Mopho Synth Solo (5)
Andy Gray – Guitar Solo (7)
Brendan Eyre – Piano (10)
Adrian Jones – Slide Guitar & Solo (11)
Siobhan Jones – Vocal (5)
Fred Arlington – Horn (5 & 9), Sax (2 & 9)
Record Label: Esoteric Antenna
Catalogue#: EANTCD 1061
Country of Origin: UK
Date of Release: 26th February 2016