It’s no secret that Gazpacho was founded in the late nineties by members of the Marillion fanclub. Tick Tock is the sixth studio album by this Norwegian outfit, consisting of founder members Jon-Arne Vilbo (guitars) and Thomas Andersen (keyboards). When they met Jan H. Ohme (vocals) things began to get serious. Rounding off the current line-up are Mikael Krømer (violin), Robert Johansen (drums) and Kristan Torp (bass). Having a taste for music ranging from electronic music to metal, I must confess that I’ve never had a chance to listen to Gazpacho’s music before, so this is my first encounter. Desert Flight is a delightful and strong opening track. It contains great melodies, nice changes of tempo and an atmospheric interlude featuring the violin and building up to a climax with rich keyboard sounds. It's a pity that the bass is rather simply hammering a few notes, more to emphasize the power and the rhythm, where I would have liked it to express a little more playfulness and a more daring sound. Very atmospheric and totally like Marillion with Steve Hogarth is The Walk: Ohme sings very much like Hogarth and one can hear awesome Mellotron sounds. Some oriental influences towards the end of the first half, almost turning into ambient music. This track contains very nice bass playing, a superb piece of progressive music! In the same vein, relaxed but still sending shivers down my spine, is the second part of this track. The title track is an epic piece spanning over 22 minutes and mixing the sound of A-ha, No Man and again foremost their icons Marillion. Rather unexpected, the gentle Marillion-like music is disrupted by a piece of Gregorian chant until guitar, percussion and bass take over. When the piano joins in, the music reminds me a bit of the early albums by Renaissance, but logically in a far more modern fashion. Ohme’s vocals are a mix of those of Steve Hogarth, Tim Bowness and Morten Harket (A-ha). The middle section varies between floating keyboard sounds, chill out music with some flutes and more melodic, guitar dominated rock. The last part features the piano at first, again a great delightful atmosphere and it progresses with guitar leads, nice riffs and a ticking clock to remind us of the cd-title. The violin provides a real original touch. Great performance again by Jan H. Ohme. An easy ride with Winter Is Never, we can go on dreaming on the beautiful symphonic music provided by Gazpacho. It seems that the track Speed Of Envy was not included on Tick Tock, a pity because it’s also a very nice track. It resembles parts of the title track and Winter Is Never.
This is the kind of album Marillion should have made. And there I find myself in the difficult position to either just sit back and enjoy this music or put it aside because it sounds so hugely like Marillion in their heydays. Just like the aforementioned band at present day, I do miss the heart breaking guitar solos. In spite of what one could call severe lack of originality, I can’t help falling in love with this album and I can’t wait to hear it on a proper sound system instead of my computer!