Jadis - 2003 Fanatic

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ARTIST: Jadis
ALBUM: Fanatic
LABEL: Inside Out
SERIAL: IOMCD 122
YEAR: 2003

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: image
LINEUP: Gary Chandler - guitar, vocals * Martin Orford - keyboards * John Jowitt - bass * Steve Christey - drums

TRACK LISTING: The Great Outside * 02 Into Temptation * 03 Each And Everyday * 04 I Never Noticed * 05 Fanatic * 06 Yourself Alone * 07 Take These Words * 08 What Kind Of Reason * 09 Who Can We Be Sure Of

Background

I've always had a lot of time for Jadis, right from hearing the second (readily-available) album 'Across The Water'. Their brand of IQ meets Pink Floyd with a pop sensibility is, in my opinion, very appealing. I can't understand why the band seem to have detractors out there. I guess it's the prog thing, you either get it or you don't.

After hearing previews of some of the songs at a gig in 2002 (it was early days, some of them only had working titles for names, 'Donkey Therapy' is the one which sticks in my mind) I had been looking forward to hearing this album for a while.

The Songs

Within minutes of 'The Great Outside', the trademark Jadis sound kicks in with Gary Chandler's very natural vocal delivery and upfront guitar work. While there are no outright surprises, the song easily sit amongst a lot of the material from 'More Than Meets The Eye', it presents the band doing something they do very well.

'Into Temptation' has a slightly harder edge than the band's usual style, and in contrast to the opening number, more of the focus shifts towards John Jowitt's bass. During the intro, Martin Orford's keyboard fills evoke memories of forgotten pop music from the 80's (hey, I'm not knocking it, I like that kind of sound a lot, and I'm guessing lots of visitors to an AOR/melodic site do too). However, by the time the track gets rolling, it's unmistakably prog, in fact many parts of the album venture further into the prog field than Jadis have done for a while.

The gentler feel of 'Each And Everyday' is probably one of the albums high points from a vocal viewpoint as the soft edges are well suited to Gary Chandler's voice. The chorus refrain of a slowly delivered 'na na na', which at first doesn't seem to be anything special, but will hit you later on. It's definitely one of those musical refrains which will unwillingly stick in your head. Just don't blame me next time you're walking down the street minding your own business and it takes a hold, 'na na na naaaaa' (oi, it's not Journey is it? - Ed)

Those of you looking for atmospheric instrumental work need look no further than the title cut. Here Gary launches into his trademark prog-fuelled guitar work with a real intent. This was the main reason I was originally captivated by the band, no matter how many times I hear those long, emotional guitar tones, they never become dull. To my ears, some of the playing is (slightly) more aggressive than in days past, but not too much.

If you enjoy the chorus aspect of Jadis, you will undoubtedly love 'What Kind Of Reason'. It has all the makings of a great tune. It leans towards the band's more commercial style while the chorus is the main focus. Those looking for a great musical arrangement won't be disappointed, as it also features some great soloing, a solid rhythmic quality and an atmospheric piano part from Martin Orford in the closing section which, while not especially complex, is quite effective.

In Summary

While at the time of writing 'Fanatic' doesn't grab me the way 'Across The Water' often did, it gets better with each subsequent listen. Each time there are new strengths to be discovered. A future cult classic maybe.


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