Band: The Other Side
CD Title: “A Higher Vantage Point”
Band Website: www.myspace.com/theothersideprog
Label: Independent Release
I received an interesting CD the other day from composer/keyboardist/saxophonist Alan Mallery under the name of The
Other Side. Mallery it turns out one busy man. Known for his work with the jazz-fusion group Zed, he’s also the co-founder of the
Colorado Art Rock Society. Here he takes time out from the jazzier side of things to produce music that’s keyboard led progressive
rock with a distinct symphonic feel. Entitled A Higher Vantage Point it proved to be a very engaging listen.
The Other Side is
made up of not only Mallery (keyboards, saxophone, Theremin, percussion) but also Lyle LaRaman (bass, guitars) and Lamar Neally (drums).
The trio performs 10 instrumental compositions ranging in length from as short as 3:08 to as long as 7:47. I was struck listening
to the disc at how much ground is actually covered. There are tracks that have a Camel influence, some that betray a little Triumvirat
and others even a little Emerson Lake and Palmer. You mix it all together and you have…Voila…The Other Side. The keyboards are up
front all the way, here, performing most of the lead lines and plenty of atmospheric backing, while the drums, bass and guitar form
the core of the rhythm section propelling these pieces along. Most of the compositions are mid-tempo with repeating sections all of
a very melodic nature. Nothing here is overly jarring; it’s all very smooth and well arranged. There’s even a couple sax solos that
may remind you of some non-descript Pink Floyd songs. I really loved the track entitled “The Call to War” [7:01] that starts with
a buzzing saw-tooth synth with the voices of Hitler and Winston Churchill spliced in at the beginning. This is the track that most
reminded me of Triumvirat with the same kind of string sound heard at various points. The song has more than a few interesting starts
and stops but always comes back to the core melodic themes. Another favorite track is “Schizoid” [5:57] with its rapid fire staccato
breaks spiced up with some heavy Hammond styled organ and piping lead synth lines reminiscent of some ELP or Triumvirat. There is
a nice little spacey-avant-garde section that drifts along in this track making the return the theme that much more relishing. I keep
referring to Triumvirat because the overall feel of these compositions is lighter that what ELP might have done, although there are
some similar keyboard synth sounds. Especially on “Walking the Labyrinth” [5:49] where the synth is very dramatic, aided by some brilliant
Mellotron. On this track I particularly enjoyed the use of the bass synth lines that come in half way through…a real nice fat analog
sounding synth, very big, very grand sound, very ELP-ish…you know what maybe this is my favorite track?
The Other Side create
music that is like a breath of fresh air; much of it is very major-chord-sounding leaving you feeling very upbeat. If you’re a fan
of the bands mentioned, or enjoy the work of keyboardists such as Peter Bardens, I think A Higher Vantage Point will really appeal
to your ears. It’s a truly enjoyable listen.