# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Aaron Clift Experiment - If All Goes Wrong

  by Steve Kinrade

published: 17 / 7 / 2018

Aaron Clift Experiment - If All Goes Wrong
Label: Aaron Clift Productions
Format: CD


Promising but undemanding prog rock from Texan band the Aaron Clift Experience which over-relies on its influences

I have a confession to make. It’s taken years to get to this point, but I feel I’m ready to make this very personal disclosure. Yes, disclosure is coming, and it's now. Progressive Rock is my guilty pleasure, something I turn to at times of personal pressure. After a tough day at work some go for a run, some open a bottle, or take in a film. I, on the other hand, like to stretch out and take an hour out and listen to Yes’s 'Close to the Edge', or for serious decompression, 'Tales from Topographic Oceans'.... The problem with Progressive Rock, however, is that I feel it actually isn’t progressive.It harks back to a set of musical rules, leitmotifs, touchstones, whatever you will, that places it firmly in the genre. And having been firmly weened on Prog’s teat, I find it challenging to listen to something without referencing the past. Therefore, on its first couple of listen, I played musical bingo, spotting what sounded like King Crimson, Rush, a Steve Howe guitar solo etc, which was all good fun while it lasted. A new release, however, shouldn’t be about the past, but about the now, or the future. 'If All Goes Wrong' is somewhat of a mixed bag, but will definitely keep its core constituency happy. The album starts of with the muscular work-out of 'Faith', and is a great opener, a satisfactory showcase of the quartet’s musical chops and virtuosity. I’m in phase with the lyrical content also. 'Last Crash' with it change of moods and time signatures is classic, even anthemic Prog, matched by some epic guitar soloing, at one point even echoing Blackmore's rush to the denouement in 'Child in Time'. Once Prog was about trips in interstellar space, whereas here the metaphor is about life being akin to speeding on a highway. So much for “vaulting ambition”... But with 'Absent Lovers' we get that third track in the sequence change of pace, and its beautiful guitar intro reminds of the classic Yes track 'Turn of the Century', and when Clift starts to sing, he evokes the memory of the great John Wetton. Indeed, its very Crimson-esque, down to the mellotron at the back of the mix, and then we jolt into another time signature change. All boxes ticked. This, and the other tracks on the album, however, do leave you with the sense of “joining the dots”. And other tracks are a musical genre mash-up - for example 'Better Off Before' which is the Beach Boys having a jam with Alex Lifeson, and 'Castles in the Sky' could sound like one of the classic Asia line-ups better efforts. The album ends with the titular 'If All Goes Wrong', which is great stuff, the early King Crimson influence coming to the fore. This is an album which delivers a standard of great musical performances and benefits sonically from nice, crisp production. But I feel that Aaron Clift and chums could do better; there are glimpses of what may indeed be an exciting musical future. Although it does have a tendency to veer into AOR territory sometimes - the bland leading the band - and this temptation needs to be assiduously resisted. My advice is for the next experimental outing is this: live dangerously, and ditch the Health & Safety Manual. The result of such artistic abandon could probably set you aside from the pack.

Track Listing:-
1 Faith
2 Last Crash
3 Absent Lovers
4 Better off Before
5 Castle in the Sky
6 Savage in a Fancy Suit
7 Dream Within a Dream
8 Wild Hunters
9 If All Goes Wrong

Band Links:-

Post A Comment

your name
ie London, UK
Check box to submit

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors