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Jump - ...And All The Kings Men CD (album) cover





3.23 | 15 ratings

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Symphonic Team
4 stars "Political disgrace is a ticket to an all-day, all-night party. Political intrigue is the substance abuse of the wealthy. Political power is the big stake of the business classes. Political deceit is adultery against the people."

With ...And All The King's Men, Jump's third studio album, the band "jumped" to a whole new level of quality. Their first two albums are not bad and show some promise, but the present album is something else altogether. Sadly, Jump would remain in relative obscurity. To say that ...And All The King's Men is unjustly overlooked would be an understatement. This is a sadly forgotten classic of the Neo-Prog genre.

The sound of this album can perhaps be described as a more eclectic and more rocking version of Fish-era Marillion. But such a simple description scarcely does justice to Jump who adds their own twists to the model Neo-Prog sound and make the style their own. Distinguishing features of Jump include the outstanding lead vocals of John Dexter Jones and the dazzling dual guitars of Steve Hayes and Pete Davies. This together with the ever-present keyboards of Mo and the bass and drums of Hugh Gascoyne and Andy Barker creates a powerful and appealing sound.

Jones' very articulate vocals really shine and he sounds as if he really means every word, nay every syllable! His voice is not used as just another musical instrument; indeed, as much care and attention have been given to the lyrics as has been to the music. I think it is fair to describe this album as weakly conceptual as most of the songs pertain in one way or another to political power and its abuses from time immemorial. The messages of the lyrics are reflective and they don't come across as "preachy". The perspective is that of a thoughtful observer who sees problems in the world but has not given up on humanity. It is not hard to identify with this general attitude regardless of where you stand on political policy.

The album opens with a "bang" with the excellent All The King's Horses. The half-sung, half-spoken vocals here are very effective. The guitar sound is clean and razor sharp, sometimes reminding of the twin guitar attack of Thin Lizzy. Seize the Day follows in similar high fashion. George's Revolution, on the other hand, is not much more than a decent rocker. It is not weak, but clearly one of the lesser tracks of the album. Camera City picks things up again describing a 1984-like dystopia of a city where the inhabitants are being watched (which has now become a reality in some cities of the world!). Here I detect a Rush influence in the music. Shed No Tears is another excellent track with a nice Genesis feel. The opening line "where then is my country?" evoking Peter Gabriel's immortal "can you tell me where my country lies?" Share The Shame has yet another strong vocal from Jones here backed up by Chrissie Hammond who adds some soulful backing vocals to a number of tracks.

Two Up, Two Down reminds me of Barclay James Harvest in style. This one also includes a "Rap" section! (Don't worry, it sounds much worse than it is). C. Hammond appears again in Judgement Day, a rather heavy rocker. Dangerous Devotions is the weakest track of the album, a bit of a boogie. But things quickly get back on track again with Another False Dawn and then the lovely closing two-part suite Someone Else's Prayer. Clocking in at close to an hour, this album could have been even better than it in fact is had it been shortened somewhat. But it is an excellent album as it stands. The two bonus tracks are good as well, but not up to par with the album tracks.

An overlooked gem, highly recommended to all fans of Neo-Prog.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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