The Downes Braide Association are essentially Chris Braide and Geoff Downes, two of the busiest session and specialist musicians around – their combined CV include writing for the likes of Beyonce, Buggle, Lana Del Rey, David Guetta, Asia, Yes … the list is virtually endless.
Together though they make the music in their own heads and while there are clear references to the bands they have worked with, their music stands in its own right and the result here is a superb set of songs.
The album features collaborations with Andy Partridge of XTC, Marc Almond, Kate Bowness of B52s among others and each song has a monumental scale and scope that is enormously satisfying.
The opener, ‘Prelude’, is a plaintive piano led piece that builds with the use of strings into a massive tune of hope. Andy Partridge’s guitar is exquisite. That is followed by the monster title track, huge in scope and scale and, changing pace and tone frequently and building to a huge crescendo – very much in the spirit of Yes and Asia, both of whom featured Downes on keyboards- but with a pop sensibility in the use of melodies and rhythms. Worth the cost of the album on its own.
I must say that ‘Skin Deep’ – featuring Marc Almond – struck me on first listening as slight but subsequent listening really makes sense of the lyrics and the pace of the song. Possibly one of the real standouts on the album but needing the listener to invest in the song.
It has to be said that this isn’t any kind of lightweight pop – or even Prog – album. The writing is superb, the performances are excellent and the production really creates a sense of great scale.
Resoundingly fine album and I can understand why they think this is their best yet.