Flamborough Head - Jumping the Milestone

Posted 111122

Review Erik Neuteboom

Flamborough Head was founded in 1990, the name is derived from a part of the rocky British coast and comes from prime mover Edo Spanninga, an Anglophile, he wanted a double name like Led Zeppelin and Uriah Heep. The band gained a lot praise since their wonderful debut album Unspoken Whisper from 1998, and their performances on the legendary Progfarm festivals. In 2018 Edo told me that Flamborough Head actually never stopped. Due to family priorities, side-projects (solo, Trion, Leap Day), personal changes and 'getting older' the activity was very low. But in recent years Flamborugh Head played in Poland and England and then decided to work on a new CD, in the end it took 4 years to complete this new effort (the first since Lost In Time from 2013), of course the corona misery played a huge role in the delay. The recent line-up still includes Margriet Boosma, Edo Spanninga and Koen Roozen, former Flamborough Head guitarplayer Eddie Mulder now plays bass and the new guitarplayer is Hans Spitzen.

Well, during my first listening session I got more and more excited about this new Flamborough Head album, for sure it has been worth the long wait! The band delivers six tastefully arranged and elaborate compositions, embellished with wonderful work on guitar, keyboards and flute, fuelled by a dynamic rhythm-section, and topped with the beautiful and distinctive female vocals by Margriet Boomsma.

The two longest compositions are wonderfully drenched in the 70s symphonic rock tradition, and new guitarplayer Hans Spitzen shines, he is a real asset to the band. The Garden Shed (10:30) alternates between dreamy (with soaring flute, acoustic guitar and warm female vocals) and bombastic eruptions, with synthesizer flights, Mellotrons and powerful guitar riffs. The one moment delicate interplay between a folky flute and acoustic guitar, the other moment a moving guitar solo in a compelling atmosphere. Jumping The Milestone (12:18) starts with dreamy piano, flute and vocals, gradually the sound turns into more lush with sensitive electric guitar and intense vocals. Then back to dreamy featuring a moving guitar solo that culminates in howling runs and a bombastic eruption with Mellotron. In the second part lots of changing atmospheres with exciting work on keyboards and guitar. Finally first a dreamy climate with flute, tender piano, then an excellent build-up to a compelling grand finale with a moving guitar solo and a majestic Mellotron sound, goose bumps!

The other four tracks also sound inspired and well crafted.

Tomorrow Is Another Day (7:42) sounds as a very melodic and harmonic blend of rock and folk, with a lush instrumentation (from flute to synthesizers and organ). Halfway beautiful interplay between flute and electric guitar, followed by a long and moving guitar solo.

Start Of A Nightmare (8:15) features a lot of variety, dynamics and strong musical ideas. From bombastic symphonic rock with Hammond and synthesizer flights to Neo-Prog with moving guitar and folk with soaring flute and tender acoustic guitar. The one moment a distorted bass solo, the other moment an ominous final part with biting wah-wah guitar solo, turning into a sumptuous atmosphere with synthesizer flights, what an awesome build-up and climax!

Fear Of Failure (8:57) to me sounds like early Kayak, very melodic with a sensitive electric guitar solo and lots of Vintage Keyboard Extravaganza, from Hammond and Minimoog to Mellotron (especially the choir section), wow, I love it!

Walls Of Words (8:00) is the most mellow track, wonderfully layered with intense vocals, tender piano, subtle volume pedal driven electric guitar,melancholical flute play, a moving guitar solo, and finally Hammond runs and a fading Mellotron.

What an excellent and inspired new album by Dutch masters Flamborough Head!