Friday 28 July 2023


Let's do something we have not done at Desert Psychlist for a while and that is dive headlong into some progressive rock. Do not go getting your knickers in a twist however as the album we are diving into is not your run of the mill take off into flights of fancy type prog, there are no songs concerning lambs lying down, roundabouts or brain salads, oh no. In fact the album we are bringing to your attention today could just as easily be described as psychedelic, stoner or post-metal as there is just as much of each of those genres/sub-genres to be found in its grooves as there is prog, plus quite a bit more 
The album we are reviewing today comes via a London, UK band going by the name of  The Fierce and the Dead and bears the title "News From the Invisible World" and we think its an album you should hear and may even change your perception about music of a "progressive" nature.

TFATD start with a song conveniently titled "The Start", the song boasts throbbing keyboards accompanied by a lone clean vocal, as the song slowly progresses so increases the amount of instrumentation and vocalists involved until finally the song explodes into a lively alt rock groove over which a myriad of voices are singing in harmonic unison, the whole feel of the song reminding Desert Psychlist of another British band going by the name of Elbow. Up next is "Shake The Jar" and here we find TFATD jamming a groove that blends QOTSA desert rock quirkiness with a touch of late Genesis radio friendly prog, this is a song that although musically complex is at the same time, thanks in part to its superb vocal arrangements, unexpectedly easy on the ears. Those wishing for a modicum of heaviness to rear its head will thoroughly enjoy "Golden Thread" it has riffs you can get your teeth into and has an overall gnarled and nasty feel, even when it does step off the gas and get a little lysergic and dreamy there is always a feeling that its only a matter of time before things explode again. "Photogenic Love" is another song that reminds Desert Psychlist of Elbow as it has one of those undulating vocal melodies that is constantly on the verge of a big sing along chorus. "Wonderful" follows and in Desert Psychlist's opinion very much deserves its title being a truly wonderful mix of Weather Report like jazz fusion and prog-lite complexity. "Non-Player" revives that late Genesis feel, its a laid back and gentle song decorated in serene and crystal clear vocals and boasts a to die for saxophone solo. "What A Time To Be Alive" starts life gnarly then drops down into light airy fusion mode the songs groove continuously swapping back and forth between these two dynamics for its duration with just a brief burst of Spyro Gyra  like jazziness, accompanied by heavily filtered vocals, breaking that cycle. Last track "Nostalgia Now" brings things to a close, a laid back lament crooned in reflective vocal tones that initially is backed by a minimal musical backdrop of but then increases its instrumentation to take things to a more torch-like finale.

The Fierce And The Dead's sound is at it's root  quintessentially British, but thanks to its forays into jazz fusion, post-rock and QOTSA -like desert rock it is a sound with international appeal. It is not a heavy sound, neither is it over complex or convoluted but it does have moments where those dynamics make their presence felt. Is "News From the Invisible World" a prog album or is it something else entirely is a question best thrashed out on the interweb's many prog rock forums, for now let's just enjoy it for what it is and that is a damn fine album of intelligently put together music.
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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