Just in time for their Saturday night performance at 2017’s Night of Prog Festival at Loreley on 15th July, Comedy of Errors return with House of the Mind, a collection of great new music, which also includes a newly arranged version of their classic Ever Be the Prize.
A six-piece from Glasgow in Scotland, Comedy of Errors are a progressive rock band who remain one of the sole links to the then new take on prog music in the 1980s and ’90s. All five of the new tracks are outstanding, and great additions to Comedy of Errors body of work, and I would love to have been at Night of the Prog to hear the songs live for the first time. Opener Tachyon lives up to its name with a fast and powerful tempo. “We defeat them, we go on. We will triumph!” – Yes! This band is a great link to the style of IQ and Pendragon, the track charging out of the door like a rocket, taking you high as piano and keyboards soar along with the glittering guitar work. Joe Cairney’s vocals call us all to live our lives to a higher standard than the one the world seems mired in today. Rock on!
The title track opens with one of those cool keyboard instrumentals we all love and cherish. Very ELP, it is truly memorable and, at over 14 minutes, epic with the support of an echoed backing chorus and filled with drenching guitars and power drums. Joe sings, “Take all the feelings that you’ll ever find and then, lock them away with you deep in the house of the mind”, and with today’s encroaching technology, government and private enterprise taking more and more of our privacy, our connection to feelings of empathy and memories may only have one safe place left… the mind. It’s a powerful song recalling and beckoning a return to when life – and what we did with it – actually mattered.
A Moment’s Peace is the kind of instrumental we all need each morning when we wake, the wonderful guitar surely making the mind wander back to the better days of old. The keyboard work is haunting and familiar and the kind you would wish to hear on every great progressive record. Behold the beauty and joy of this drift back in time and savour every minute. One Fine Day opens with the lyrics, “Remember a time when we made friends with the sun, and we could always outrun our cares – they’d not yet begun?” Yes, we all remember our childhoods, and just like Marillion, this is a Childhood’s End kind of song, of remembrance for the days which will stay with us forever. Keeping the theme, Song of Wandering Jacomus opens with wonderful Marillion-like guitar, string and keyboards. It’s another epic of over 13-minutes, a prog masterpiece full of glittering guitar, bells, and Vangelis-like keyboard images. Then the lead guitar plunges through the mist and fog to call us all to hear the story as Joe sings, “Our time together was all too cut short then again. And she comes to me day and night”, maybe like Cathy from Wuthering Heights, stirring even more glorious memories of the past.
Laid out in the 12-page lyric book within the digipak you will find some tremendous words which will stay with you long after the song ends; “And though I am old as I wander these lands, one day I will find her, one day I will kiss her… The path was a circle that lay ever knowing, beyond…” At song’s end, you can even hear a homage to Genesis’ Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats – nice!
I am a relative newbie to Comedy of Errors, although they have been making music since 1984, and the last song on the album is a re-arranged version of a very old song. Ever the Prize was their first recorded demo from 1985, but the music and lyrics fit this new album perfectly. I listened to the original version to hear any differences, Joe’s voice has lost that young, innocent sound, but in exchange it is now more dynamic and full of greater confidence and assurance.
“Where do we go from here?” That is everyone’s biggest question. “Experience will teach you, given time, they say? Only what is out of reach, can ever be the prize”. I’d say that Joe and the band have reached the prize for sure, delivering an impressive recording that is more than proof that Comedy of Errors have survived where others have not, reaching the alter of prog leadership and deserving the respect and recognition of the bands that they themselves idolized as teens…
01. Tachyon (6:15)
02. House of the Mind (14:48)
03. A Moment’s Peace (4:09)
04. One Fine Day (2:48)
05. Song of Wandering Jacomus (13:39)
06. Ever Be The Prize (9:00)
Total Time – 50:39
Jim Johnston – Songwriter, Keyboards
Joe Cairney – Vocals
Sam McCulloch – Guitars
Mark Spalding – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Bruce Levick – Drums & Percussion
John (The Funk) Fitzgerald – Bass, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.K.
Date of Release: 16th June 2016