Brighton/Nottingham band, Baron is due to release their second album on 13th November, 2015. It’s a follow-up to 2013’s “Columns“. This band is new to me, so I try to find out their backstory. Their Facebook page has this helpful bit of biography info…”Retro Futurist visionaries, hell bent on county council domination”. Ah, one of them. Well, this shows they have a sense of fun.
“Torpor” is seven tracks of what could be mostly described as progressive rock but with a contemporary feel. Songs roll along with an epic, dramatic atmosphere and are longish, as befitting prog.
Baron’s members are Alex Crispin (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Crispin’s partner, Blue Firth (keyboards, vocals), Peter Evans (bass) and Luke Foster (drums, percussion). I’m jealous – I’ve always wanted to be called Blue.
So, cool names aside, “Dragonfly” is ’70s style, with crashing cymbals and a good guitar solo to finish. Whimsical and catchy, it’s a good opener. “Mark Maker” has more of a ‘ 60s feel – kinda floaty and psychedelic, with jangly guitars. “Wild Cry” is less proggy, more contemporary and a bit heavier. “Dark Down” is dark in the title and dark in tone. More jangly guitars and nice harmonizing vocals, however.
“Stry” leads up to something quite heavy, but still with a sense of melody, and then really kicks off in a satisfying wall of sound. It shows they can really rock out when they want to. “Sleepless” is a mix of quiet and heavy, jangly and rock, with chanting vocals, ending with spaced out keyboards. “Deeper Align” sounds more “now”, evolving into jazz/rock with good work on the bass and percussion.
This album is prog rock re-visited but with originality. Fine musicians keep it tight, delving into experimentation but without endless noodling, and harmony and melody always rule the roost.