Idle Hours - 2009 Headlong [ep]


ARTIST: Idle Hours
ALBUM: Headlong [ep]
LABEL: Self Released
YEAR: 2009


LINEUP: Steve Anderson - drums * Pete Clouter - keyboards, vocals * William Marriage - bass, vocals * Mark Sippings - vocals, keyboards * Lee Williams - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Headlong * 02 Cat's Chorus * 03 Machine Wave


Other than for die-hard NWOBPR fanatics, Idle Hours have flown under the radar of most progressive followers for decades. Originally formed in 1978 as a Rush cover band, the group later cited Yes, Van Der Graaf Generator and Genesis as influences.

Apparently they released a three song cassette which by a stroke of weird luck was played on Poland's Radio Krakow. The Dutch label SI music took an interest and signed the band to a one album deal with Pendragon's Clive Nolan set to produce.

Unfortunately Idle Hours timing couldn't be worse. A short time after putting ink to paper SI went belly-up and with no further deals in sight the band struggled before calling it a day a couple years later.

Fast forwarding to the late 00's and a chance meeting at a pub rekindled the flame once again and contacting producer/ engineer Rob Aubrey (Asia, IQ, Jadis, John Wetton) resulted in this short but quite good 3 song EP.

The Songs

Since I've never heard, let alone seen an actual copy of their original tape, I'm not sure if this is old or new material, but whatever the case it's topnotch neo prog.

Clocking in at just over 26 minutes, Idle Hours sound is similar to Pendragon while sporting a vocalist resembling Geddy Lee. Thankfully there's not a hint of Heavy Metal riffing anywhere to be found, a disturbing trap too many veteran bands have willingly fallen into recently.

We are off to the races with the title track and its galloping beat and fiery guitar work from Lee Williams. Love the pastoral middle 8 too.

The very British lyricism of 'Cat's Chorus' is fun, catchy too but Idle Hours let it all hang out with the longest track 'Machine Wave'. Again, Williams' soloing stands out and with Ron Aubrey's crisp production the song, while owing much to Pendragon circa 'The World', is a minor masterpiece of neo progressive rock.

In Summary

Since 2009, little has been heard from Idle Hours. A shame really since they showed a lot of potential. Maybe one day I'll be able to find a copy of that elusive tape.

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