The Tangent - The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery

The Tangent The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery cover
The Tangent
The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery
InsideOut Music
The Tangent is a British prog band that has been releasing albums, post millennially without fail. In fact, I counter them among the most coherent bands in the genre, as they seem happy to return whenever they have a statement to make and boy do they have a few. Masterminded by Andy Tillison, who on this album assumes drumming as well, one thing that stands out is the inclusion of a female vocalist in the form of Marie-Eve de Gaultier. Otherwise things are as you might or might not remember them, depending on if this is your first introduction to the band or not.
The music of The Tangent is a tad difficult to describe. It’s largely based on classic 70s prog but also has neologisms aplenty, as they don’t really have a specific “signature” style, but rather flow freely between style, sometimes sounding complex and demanding and other times just peaceful, atmospheric going through jazzy arrangements, seamlessly and effortlessly…
The album eases in with the rather soft “Two Rope Swing” that kicks up a fuss after it middle, only to melt quite seamlessly into the instrumental sea of madness that “Doctor Livingstone (I Presume)”, is. Piano, bass, flute, a couple of really memorable solos, it has it all… from the lyrics and titles, it’s quite evident that the band takes quite an active political stance, disregarding political correctness, or the negative effect this might have on “sales” (hahah – nice one)…
The title track lasts twice as long as the good doctor does, at some twenty two minutes and is another politically/socially charged piece that gets quite passionate or timid, depending on the mood it wants to convey; it’s a difficult track, not so much because of the length, but because of the overall narrative and somewhat unconventional structure, but its solos are relative highlights.
“The Sad Story of Lead and Astatine” isn’t easier, but this time it has to do with the amount of jazzed up craziness that’s going on piano, keys, organ, metallic percussion, you name it; I suppose washboard and kitchen sink might be the only things that are missing from it.
“A Few Steps Down the Wrong Road” has many spoken word parts and it’s all about “Brexit” and the whole crazy political agenda that goes with it. It’s not pleasant and certain points are almost even cacophonous screaming, but I guess the intention is not to be pleasant to begin with.
Lastly, “Basildonxit” is a pun, I take it, about the borough of Essex by the same name, from which famously Depeche Mode are from and I take it… The Tangent must be as well; it’s almost dancable at first and then it goes on a whole different (ahem excuse the pun) Tangent…
“The Slow Rust of Forgotten Machinery” is not an easy or pleasant listen, but it feels much more rewarding that the “Astounding” fairy-tale of some other fair-weather fellas… who just didn’t know when to take a bit of time off.