(02 April 2002) The follow-up album to Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman's Jabberwocky (review) featuring many of the same artists is entitled The Hound Of The Baskervilles (Verglas (UK) VGCD022, 2002). Based on a Sherlock Holmes story, the album has the same general feel as Jabberwocky and indeed several themes--especially the fast-based keyboard romps--from the former album recur in this latest release.
The Hound Of The Baskervilles perfectly balances progressive instrumentals with theatrically sung parts by both male and female vocalists. Solos by featured artists Tracy Hitchings and Michelle Young are two of the album's standout tracks. One will have to listen carefully to the album to understand the various twists and turns of the story.
Notable instrumental additions in The Hound Of The Baskervilles are provided by Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon
[reviews 1, 2 and 3], Ambeon [review]). His guitar work is immediately evident in "Shadows Of Fate" sung by Bob Catley. Paul Allison sings "At Home In The Mire" and is reminscent of parts played by the Jabberwocky in the ensemble's earlier project.
Tracy Hitchings provides a very theatrical delivery of the ballad "Run For Your Life" playing Beryl within the story. Familiar listeners will hear the full range of Tracy's voice and emotions explored in the track. Keyboard- and guitar-based instruments provide an ample foundation for Tracy's work. A gentle ballad entitled "Picture Of A Lady" is sung by Paul Allison accompanied by piano and Ewa Albering's standout flute part.
Jo Greenland's violin introduces and underscores "The Argument," a theatrical piece sung by Bob Catley, Tracy Hitchings and and Paul Allison and reminiscent of other vocal combination pieces written by Clive Nolan. This is contrasted by the rocking number "Seldon"--with its lush keyboard and Lucassen's vast guitar excursions--sung by Ian Moon Gould.
Following a more extensive narration accompanied by a romping instrumental sequence, Michelle Young's character--Laura Lyons--is introduced. A gentle two-verse ballad accompanied by piano and supporting arrangements, Michelle sings the soaring lead and the harmony backing vocals in "By Your Side." Like the number by fellow singer Tracy Hitchings, it is a lovely number.
The track "Waiting" is masterfully performed with Bob Catley, Tracy Hitchings, Ashley Holt and Paul Allision working together to present the lyrical message. Arrangements again perfectly evoke the mood of this part of the story. A final vast keyboard-laced instrumental with stunning percussion entitled "Chasing The Hound" dramatically concludes the story and closes the case.
The Hound Of The Baskervilles is an album that Clive Nolan and Oliver Wakeman enthusiasts have been waiting to hear for a long time. It has certainly been worth the wait. .
Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order The House Of The Baskervilles from amazon.co.uk
here. This progressive masterpiece is worth a trans-Atlantic journey and is cleary a must listen!