Band Website: www.aquaplanage.com
Label: Cheeky Features - Independent Release
Release Date: 2008
I first became aware of Aquaplanage in an article in Classic Rock presents Prog and thought they were a band worth investigating. Sure enough, it was a wise decision. This six-piece consists of Robert Illesh (guitars, vocals, keyboards, programming), Steve Carney (vocals), Jon Bastable (bass), Tom Dawe (guitar), Max Hunt (additional keyboards) and Mitch Harwood (drums, vocals & additional programming). The band has also recruited a special 3 piece string section for certain songs consisting of Deborah Peake, Ruth McGibben and Sophie Hurr.
The first track on this disc is the band’s epic “Ode to Grey Mornings” [15:27] and it starts out sounding like
a mix of Jethro Tull and Crosby Stills and Nash primarily because of the flute, vocal harmonies and guitars. But you know what? It
sounds really, really good. The composition goes through five distinct segments that subtly refer back to each other, displaying loads
of variety and musical change-ups. The music falls into the symphonic prog category with hints of not only those mentioned but perhaps
a bit of Yes and others here and there. But these pieces are all very well put together don’t mimic anyone. This is the work of Aquaplanage and
they should be proud of it. There are a total of 9 tracks, 3 of which are instrumental on their debut CD displaying a wide variety
of musical approaches from grand epic styled symphonic prog to more soft and delicate pieces like the beginning of “Nature’s Sunday”
[8:13] which after a soft acoustic opener develops into a much grander closing with hints of early Deep Purple. Track two, “The Sands
of Time” [5:33] has a very distinctive Middle Eastern sound off the top and that ties in nicely with the lyrics references to the
If you enjoy symphonic prog I can heartily recommend you pick up a copy of Aquaplanage. Their first self-titled CD is a very accomplished release and certainly bodes well for the band’s future. I hope it’s not too long before we hear from the band again. Recommended.