After The Flood, part two of a trilogy of albums which began earlier this year, explores the rebuilding of new and positive planet Earth, subsequent to the near extinction of mankind following a cataclysmic disaster, whether that be natural, or by the design of man. Part one, The Outsider ~ News From Nowhere, based on William Morris’ 19th century novel, ‘News from Nowhere’, marked a slight departure for Neil Campbell in that it was his first concept release, and once again we have another egress for part two of the journey, as this time around we take on board a crew.
To this end Neil has called on long-time collaborator Marty Snape, whilst adding a new dynamic via the inclusion of a rhythm section comprising of bassist Roger Gardiner and Viktor Nordberg on drums. From the onset this crew have seamlesly aligned themselves to Neil’s concept, continuing in a similar vein to the premise explored in part one. Now whereas The Outsider ~ News From Nowhere had a quintessentially English setting, After The Flood takes us on a more global trek, as a quick glance at the track listing will attest to.
So, To The New World we embark, safe in the knowledge of a familiar guiding hand and travelling companion. Neil’s wonderfully fluid guitar once again leads us into the first part of the journey, with the rhythm section immediately imposing themselves, adding excitement, along with an urgent sense of anticipation. Built around Neil’s now familiar, minimalistic repeating patterns and layers, the track builds with consummate ease adding variations and embellishments along the way. There’s a wonderful ebb and flow here and Viktor Nordberg’s lyrical drumming captures this wonderfully.
Now at this point it would be oh so easy to delve into each of tracks, extolling the delights to be found therein, however I will expunge such notions immediately. So I won’t mention of the joyous, lilting From Africa, the all to brief, but fiery, Al Di Meola infused, FiveOneSeven, or the foot-tappingly infectious Déjà Vu. Nope, not a word ;0)… cue track.
What is reassuring is how seamlessly After The Flood follows on from The Outsider ~ News From Nowhere, a testament to the band, who have grasped and absorbed Neil’s concept, taken ownership of it, placed a different complexion on the material, but remained true to the paradigm.
So if we consider the early part of the album as a continuation of Neil Campbell’s visionary journey, exploring how the music of this “new world” would sound, then we might be forgiven if we believed the destination would be utopian. A place where all is as it should be, and where the music reflects this idyllic location. But is all as it seems? Déjà Vu might indicate otherwise, although the track itself is joyful and eminently catchy. The evocative 5-HTP, with its Eastern flavouring and haunting vocalisation from Perri Alleyne-Hughes, adds a darker tone to the proceedings. Might this indicate a sinister element of subterfuge? With a concluding track, Ten Men Dead, the seeds of doubt are firmly planted.
Will all this become evident later in the year with Yesterday’s News?
Well, we will just have to wait and see, but for the moment this latest offering continues the rich vein of music emanating from the Neil Campbell camp. After The Flood have certainly brought something new to the table, and firmly opens the door for some live work in the not too distant future. Well let’s hope so…
01. To The New World (5:54)
02. To Asia (3:24)
03. From Africa (6:48)
04. Crossing Continents (3:23)
05. Europe After The Rain (3:41)
06. Déjà Vu (3:51)
07. Higher (2:54)
08. 5-HTP (4:09)
09. Lantra (3:34)
10. FiveOneSeven (3:05)
11. Ten Men Dead (4:12)
Total Time – 44:55
Neil Campbell – Classical & Electric Guitars, Keyboards, Handclaps
Marty Snape – Acoustic Guitars, Keyboards, Electronics
Roger Gardiner – Bass
Viktor Nordberg – Drums
Perri Alleyne-Hughes – Vocals (8 & 9)
Ian Cantwell – Vocals (11)
Mark Jones – Vocals (11)
Record Label: Independent
Date Of Release: 13th July 2018