MAGENTA – Chameleon (2011)
Magenta, one of the UK’s best-loved progressive rock bands, are releasing their fifth studio album, “Chameleon”.
Magenta was born in the year 2001 as a one album project.
Rob Reed (a talented keyboardist and composer who had worked on several bands) decided to join Christina Murphy (now Christina Booth), an incredible vocalist that has a bit of Stevie Nicks with the brilliance of Annie Haslam plus of course her personal and unique style and release ‘Revolutions’, a double conceptual album. For that purpose they decided to hire some session musicians for the recordings. But the project was too big for that, and fans started to ask for live concerts, so they change the plans and form a permanent band.
With “Chameleon” the band is taken a new step in their career.
Known for blending the sounds of the seminal bands with symphonic overtones, this new album sees these creative musicians going more edgy and contemporary, definitively to Neo Prog.
Musically this is a very modern sounding release yet retaining the spirit of classic prog
As before, Rob provides the music for the album whilst his brother Steve Reed is responsible for the lyrics.
The sound is punchier, but the elaborate set pieces we’ve come to expect from Magenta are still in evidence and they’ve never been shy of integrating mainstream rock and pop sensibilities into their music.
On the short and accessible songs as “Glitterball” (with oriental influences) or the marching “Breathe” Christina sounds more youthful and buoyant then ever.
“Turn The Tide” is a beautifully painted ballad with classy guitars, while “Raw” has a dramatic temperament driven by the full weight of the band.
But the gem in this recording is “Book Of Dreams”. Mixing edgy guitar and string sections with rich harmonies and exquisite acoustic interludes, in the middle part there’s an uplifting choral work and then the song is re-build around a magnificent synth fanfare and Christina’s energetic chant. From this point on, the guitar work evokes Steve Howe’s ’70s style and David Gilmour’s bluesy touch.
“Chameleon” is a fresh and vibrant piece of brilliant Neo Prog that will hopefully gain Magenta a wider recognition. The music is more immediate and commercial than anything previously released by this talented band.
It was Rob’s ambition to produce a modern progressive rock album and I feel he’s succeeded in style. Certainly has all the right ingredients but above all else it’s the spectacular guitar work and some enchanting vocalizations that really elevates this material into the realms of greatness.
It would be hard to classify an album with some 7 and 9 minutes tracks as commercial but this is as close to that description as I think Magenta will ever come.
01 – Glitterball
02 – Guernica
03 – Breathe
04 – Turn the tide
05 – Book of dreams
06 – Reflections
07 – Raw
08 – The beginning of the end
09 – Red
Christina Booth – vocals
Chris Fry – guitars
Rob Reed – keyboards, bass and guitars
Kieran Bailey – drums
Martin Rossert – additional guitars (3 & 7)
BUY IT !