4 out of 5 Stars!
With guitarist Roine Stolt being involved with The Tangent in its formative years, this U.K. group at first seemed to me merely an offshoot of The Flower Kings, with the music being similar in many instances and just as engaging.
Yet, because of the jazzier passages that appear within many of its songs, The Tangent (expertly grounded and guided since its formation by keyboardist/vocalist Andy Tillison) occasionally seemed more influenced by the Canterbury Prog style as opposed to the Symphonic Prog style of, for example, groups such as Yes.
Regardless, A Place in the Queue (the band’s third studio release, and the first without Stolt on guitar) is a diverse collection of tracks. Most of the longer songs, such as “GPS Culture” or “Follow Your Leaders,” and the twenty-minute “In Earnest” as well as the twenty-five-minute “A Place in the Queue,” contain so many musical styles—from Symphonic Prog to Progressive Folk to Jazz-Rock to even a trace of Avant-Prog—it’s like musical whiplash trying to keep track of all the shifting sections and styles within each tune.
Then, on songs such as “Lost in London” and “DIY Surgery,” thanks mainly to the more prominent flutes and saxes plus the quirky nature of Tillison’s vocals, groups such as Caravan or Hatfield and the North pop into mind more frequently. But again, even the shorter tracks include passages with varied styles, so its always difficult to pinpoint specific outside influences for any one track, meaning that The Tangent (especially thanks to Tillison’s distinctive vocals and keyboard artistry) has developed a signature sound all its own.
So let’s just say that fans of acts such as The Flower Kings, Yes, Spock’s Beard, and Gentle Giant, for example, as well as the aforementioned Canterbury Prog groups will certainly appreciate much of the material on offer here. Indeed, A Place in the Queue will likely appeal to most Prog-Rock fans seeking beautiful melodies, song-arrangement complexity, and adept musicianship.