Artiest / Band: 

The French band Aside Beside is a new name in the progressive rock scene. According to the accompanying flyer, the band have used mostly Steve Hackett and Tony Banks (both ex-Genesis) as sources for their inspiration. Furthermore names like Andy Latimer (Camel), Pulsar and Spock’s Beard were mentioned. While listening to the album I certainly came to the conclusion that Aside Beside did their homework well. Though not really original, the band gives the listener an hour of varied and high quality symphonic music. The current line-up consists of Lionel Giardine (vocals, guitar), Frédéric Woff (keyboards, contrabass, drums), Vincent Chevalier (backing vocals, Mellotron, Fender Rhodes, piano), Pascal Riaux (guitars) and Tristan Péan (bass guitar on four tracks). Although all members of the band contributed to this album by writing or co-writing the songs, the names of Giardine and Woff pop up most frequently. Woff and Chevalier were responsible for mixing and producingTadj Mahall Gates and Woff took care of all the orchestral arrangements. The album opens with the title track having an atmosphere like Genesis in the early seventies, followed by a change in rhythm. Now you can hear music that could have been played by Caravan around 1973, followed by a jazzier twitch that resembles Hatfield And The North. The track ends the way it began. Nightmare even contains a jazzier approach with nice bass loops and ancient organ sounds, somewhat distorted vocals by Giardine and a very orchestral symphonic part with lots of delightful keyboard and guitar solos. Lots of Mellotron again in And I Hate Her, a track with a distinct touch of Pink Floyd. A Celtic spirit can be found in Autumn mainly because of the guest appearances of both harp, hobo and female vocals. Some parts remind me also of The Snowgoose by Camel. In You Who Know the vocals sound very much like Peter Gabriel (ex-Genesis) but the addition of some brass instruments provide this track a little extra. Ghost Of Love is a beautiful but fairly straightforward song with again bombastic orchestrations and a very tasteful bass guitar sound. Acoustic piano and a male opera voice can be heard in Tu Qui Omnia Scis followed by the short ballad Friends. More classical music with organ and a ladies choir in the Christmas song Christmas Time, a short but very nice jewel in which Giardines's voice reminds me of Tom Hook (Ancient Vision). Some influences of Japan can be heard in Loneliness with an additional trumpet. Carelessness Song contains a mixture of ancient Genesis and a more jazz orientated sound of The Flower Kings. In the beginning the final track Fruits Of Meaning contains again a tribute to Camel then the male opera voice returns once more to fade away in a pause that lasts for several minutes followed by a somewhat psychedelic ending. In my opinion this is not a very convincing closing piece of the album that generally deserves credit for the great variety in the songs and the craftsmanship of the musicians. I think Aside Beside is a very talented band with the potential to be of the flagbearers in this millennium for France and maybe even further!