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ARCHIVE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Archive picture
Archive biography
ARCHIVE started off as a trip-hop outfit back in 1994 when Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths got together with female singer Roya Arab and a young rapper named Roski John. They released a few singles on their own Swam label and broke up in 1996 following some dispute. A year later, they reformed with new personnel to record their first official album entitled "Londinium" - purely trip-hop. After a brief split-up once again, Keeler and Griffiths hired yet another couple of musicians and in 1999, released "Take My Head" - strictly a pop album. In 2002, with yet another set of helpers, they finally decided to go prog and gave us "You All Look the Same to Me".

From the very first notes of "You All Look the Same to Me", you can tell the boys all hold their PINK FLOYD collections in high esteem. It incorporates mainly floydian elements with some RADIOHEAD and COLDPLAY, and features some well orchestrated epics that merit its inclusion on this site. However, the fan base is much divided as to its progressive merits: some rave about it while others would much rather have the boys stick to their trip-hop shenanigans. One thing they do agree on is the excellent musicianship displayed throughout.

If you're a true-blue PINK FLOYD affionado, ARCHIVE's latest release won't live up to your standards. If RADIOHEAD or PORCUPINE TREE meet your prog criteria, then there's a fair chance you will appreciate it.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : ;

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Buy ARCHIVE Music


Controlling Crowds Part4Controlling Crowds Part4
Import
WARNER BROTHERS IMPORT 2009
Audio CD$13.16
$8.17 (used)
Controlling Crowds: The Complete Edition Part I-IVControlling Crowds: The Complete Edition Part I-IV
Import
Imports 2009
Audio CD$26.99
$29.63 (used)
LondiniumLondinium
Import
Universal I.S. 1997
Audio CD$7.23
$2.35 (used)
LightsLights
Import
Imports 2006
Audio CD$7.72
$5.95 (used)
AxiomAxiom
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$14.31
$13.33 (used)
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ARCHIVE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ARCHIVE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.10 | 41 ratings
Londinium
1996
2.74 | 35 ratings
Take My Head
1999
3.69 | 103 ratings
You All Look The Same To Me
2002
3.26 | 32 ratings
Michel Vaillant
2003
3.42 | 46 ratings
Noise
2004
3.55 | 20 ratings
Unplugged
2004
3.48 | 47 ratings
Lights
2006
3.50 | 70 ratings
Controlling Crowds
2009
3.82 | 55 ratings
Controlling Crowds Part IV
2009
3.84 | 60 ratings
With Us Until You're Dead
2012
3.42 | 40 ratings
Axiom
2014
3.56 | 57 ratings
Restriction
2015
3.52 | 14 ratings
The False Foundation
2016

ARCHIVE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.53 | 19 ratings
Live At The Zenith
2007

ARCHIVE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.33 | 6 ratings
Live Athens
2011

ARCHIVE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.13 | 8 ratings
Michel Vaillant (Bande originale du film)
2003
4.67 | 9 ratings
Controlling Crowds Complete Edition I - IV
2009

ARCHIVE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.67 | 6 ratings
The Absurd
2002

ARCHIVE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Londinium by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.10 | 41 ratings

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Londinium
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by poito

1 stars Nice transfiguration of the band hometown name in the title. The debut album by this English band has just an historical value. It is always interesting to know the origins of a great band. It kind of tells how they drifted till they found a solid path. There is little here of what they will be doing later. The music is trip-hop, with the only curiosity that many tracks are not very danceable because of the breaks. I imagine people trying to catch the usual stupefying rhythms in the middle of the dance floor coming to a stall in the middle of a track, waiting for the march to start again before the acid losses effect and the night gets ruined. It was probably between pills that a surprising good track "Organ song" was composed, with music inside, hum. The only curiosity this album inspires me is to know if young Keeler and Griffiths were trying to get something out of trip or they were under the influence. Lucky us, everything comes to an end, and one day they will start doing music, and what a fait. Skip this, it is only for collectors.
 Take My Head by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.74 | 35 ratings

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Take My Head
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by poito

2 stars The second album released by the English band Archive is still quite a bit away of the compositional work they will show in later releases. The singing is still in charge of a female voice, Suzanne Wooder, who I think smoothed the techno airs and moves the band to the soft pop ballade side. She made a good job, but this is far from the registers and the sound by which the band will be identified, very far from the dramatic and heartbreaking atmospheres they will become known for. The composition is extremely simple, and the arrangements scarce, one of their main abilities in following production. The album is not lacking interest, but it is not for a Proghead. The more appealing track is the techno-pop opener "You Make Me Feel".
 Noise by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.42 | 46 ratings

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Noise
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by poito

4 stars Another pearl by this fantastic band Archive who are no prophets in their own land. Archive seems to stay in good shape. The creative power remains intact after the soundtrack signed for the movie Michel Vaillant. The themes are more rhythmic ambient than in other releases, but the combination of tech sounds and an undeniable prog soul, plus the unstoppable flow of talent by Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths, accompanied by wander voice by Craig Walker make this NOISE another enjoyable piece of ambient-prog that treasures lots of beautiful harmonies and thrilling tunes. There is little left of their Floydian influences, some repetitive voices and echoes in "Conscience", and that's about it. Even when some themes appear to fall in melancholy as in the closing track "Me and You", a beautiful harmony slowly develops arisen from nowhere that finally hooks one up till the end. "Get out" are great themes with amazing sensibility, and so is the perfect "Waste" that starts as an intimate ballade and is interrupted by a pounding drum motif to become a heartbreaking hypnotic trance, similar format as in "Sleep". "Love song" is a multipart theme casting a perfect blend of the many musical souls treasured by the band. In short, great melodies, and lots of surprising sounds by one of the greatest bands.
 You All Look The Same To Me by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.69 | 103 ratings

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You All Look The Same To Me
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by poito

4 stars Don't agree to the view that ARCHIVE is a copycat of Floyd. Maybe the opener in this album is too Floydish, but it is as much as saying that all Rock music is borrowed from Chuck Berry or Little Richard. There was R&R before as there was soft atmospheric music before Archive, and it is not PF's invention either. ARCHIVE is probably one of the bands worst treated by the Prog community. True the influences are there, but it would be unfair to judge Archive that simple. Archive looks to Archive, mainly, and that's the best thing I can say of a band. What a fantastic discovery was for me. The first album I listened of this band was WITH US UNTIL YOU ARE DEAD, which I valued as an all-time masterpiece, an album that took me by surprise, and I can tell I already have quite some thousands in the bag. I will honor the title, sure I will. It is impressive how this people can build that much beauty with so few elements. Griffiths and

Keeler are pair of big names in music and I hope someday they will be recognized the way they deserve. This one was released 10 years earlier, and the way of making was already there. The opener "Again" is certainly reminiscent of PF, but PF was out there at the time, crawling in the wreck of what they once were, let's not forget that. It is an impressive theme that PF would have signed gladly, but it isn't theirs. The rest of the album shows other musical influences, how else. Porcupine Tree? Maybe, or maybe it was the other way around, 'cause Steven Wilson was much tightly hooked to PF than Archive ever was, and most important, PT/Wilson very rarely managed to craft the magnificent airs that ARCHIVE achieved so easy with a simple formula of slowly developing of the themes and a repetitive hip hop drum at the base. It is required talent to do that. As in the 15 min long "Finding It So Hard" that others found bore. Even the shorter hypnotic "Numb", why is it hypnotic? It can't be just for the base, we all have listened lots of repetitive trip-hop crap that pull us off instead. And the voices, kind of reading from the air what they have to sing and how, since the heartbreaking style remained even in the following singers recruited by the band through the years. ARCHIVE music has to be listened a few times to catch the essence. See for instance the inversion of instruments in "Hate", in which the usual background instruments come to the front as the two-note piano line, while the melody is carried by a subtle mandolin in the background that fuses with mellotron before a liquid trumpet takes over. This is only an example of the subtleties you may find in this album if you don't let PF and PT comparisons to drive you out and give it a chance to enjoy the music. The arrangements here are not simple ornaments, but the bricks the music is made of. Keep an ear on them.

 With Us Until You're Dead by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.84 | 60 ratings

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With Us Until You're Dead
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by poito

5 stars Welcome lovers of rhythm. There seems to be a debate as to how tagging this band for its trip-hop origin. Maybe they just realized they wouldn't get a Cadillac in the crowded highways to Hopland, and we won with the prog detour. This is the first album I listen to of this band, and can't put it well in context. The music lingers between experiment and composition. They often use a heavy hoppian beat that takes over sometimes, but we had to admit the hypnotizing notes kind of relax. They play a carrier effect on our brains. Of the kind that gets people to enter in trance while dancing as zombies with the help of some chemistry. But, these are only a few moments and so elegant, you now, as long as it is not used as an alibi for modern troubadours and complainers..., just let it flow into you. And it does. Waoo. And it transports plenty of great ambient-melodic moments with it that take you to a heaven of sensibility. It is really impressive how this people, using just a small bunch of music elements, are capable of raising that much beauty in the air. As the opening Wiped Out that features a heartbreaking singing, the closing Rise, or Stick Me In My Heart, a marvelous perfect choral tune that must come from a planet made of harmony, and fuses with another theme, Conflict, into a repetitive hypnotic percussion section that in turn hooks up with a Philip Glass part playing Vivaldi. That's something. I can tell you, it sounds as music from a newly discovered galaxy where music is the breathing air. Or in Calm Now (the title says it all), an instrumental piece that melts into another track, Silent, of a subtle manufacture with beautiful female singing alla Sally Oldfield and a sort of waltz-like beat. The album has no weak tracks and contains great moments that will stick in your brain forever, and fairly original blends that demand for a second listening, maybe a few more, maybe it'll become one of your favorites. It produces some responses in my brain, not emotional, but powerful enough, of the type I got when listening to Pink Floyd or Tangerine Dream, though the music has no resemblance. In the end, it caught me, I think I will keep it in my library, it must have something; probably it is just talent. It kind of unhooks me for a while off the complex prog I'm usually in without feeling I am alienating myself. I think it deserves the 5 well-earned stars, even more.
 The False Foundation by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.52 | 14 ratings

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The False Foundation
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by King Manuel

4 stars Exciting, Innovative and progressive

This is probably Archive's most progressive release so far. Progressive not in the sense of Progressive Rock (it's probably the album with the least "Rock" in Archive's discography), but in terms of progression in sound and structure; a demonstration that on Album Nr. 10 Archive are a progressing collective that is not standing still after all those years. This album, although in many ways still radiating Archive as we know them, definitely feels different. It is more electronic, more machine beat driven, darker and the individual songs often deviate from the initial path they started on. And this is what makes this album one of the most interesting, exciting and rewarding Archive albums to listen to. There are surprises lurking around every beat and harmony keeping the listener engaged from the first to the last second. It is definitely an album requiring undivided attention and concentration - or in other words this is a typical headphone album I would say. Highly recommended to the open minded Archive fan!

 Restriction by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.56 | 57 ratings

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Restriction
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars My only other experience with Archive to this date has been with With Us Until You're Dead, about 6 months ago. And that was a very weird experience.

On first listen, I was totally fascinated. It was like a merger of Porcupine Tree with bleep bloop- era Radiohead, simultaneously being rocky and groove-ridden as electronic and intricate. So naturally, I put it straight in my 'regular rotation' playlist, as I thought it would be a record I needed to listen to a bit more. But strangely, the more I listened to it, the more it stopped being interesting and started being really, really annoying. Parts I once considered great now frustrate me to no end, and some parts I'm left wondering what I even liked about it at all. The compositions were so rooted in repetition of annoying fragments, very little in terms of strong melodies or ideas, and the idea of listening to it again makes me more nauseous than exciting.

And strangely enough, on Restriction, I've sort of had the opposite happen. On first listen, I felt the same way that I felt about With Us Until You're Dead at the end - this is lazy, uninteresting music that puts about as much effort into the songs as they do life into the performances. All the songs sounded like B-sides from a band like The Gathering, songs that have little blips of goodness in them, but overall just don't stand up on their own to be called 'songs'. But now that I've given it a bit more time, it's actually grown on me quite a bit, to the point where I'd nearly call it a 'good album'. It still has that feeling of laziness to it, and some of the tracks are utterly maddening, but there is more good than bad here, and at times the album's actually surprisingly solid.

The best part of the album happens at the end of the first half, with the run of 'End of Our Days' through to 'Half Built Houses', with Archive playing three of the best songs of their modern era in quick succession, all being slow, solemn, melodic songs. After a poor start to the album, 'End of Our Days' comes in with beautiful piano and vocals, but the track is really made by the fantastic use of vocal samples as ambience, creating beautiful layers of layers of sound during the song's climax. This then leads into 'Third Quarter Storm', another very soft ballad track, using the male vocalists this time, and proves that Archive can write some really nice melodies when they need to, there's some more great vocal layering here, and the song breaks into a thick synth section which is honestly the first time Archive do something electronic that doesn't sound uninspired. Thirdly we have 'Half Built Houses', which has some fantastic ambience again, this time made using distant tremolo guitars. It's honestly surprising how different these songs are to the first three, and I feel the album could be a bit better if they were more spread out.

But the album does pick up again after another gap of uninspired electro nonsense, for the last four tracks, and while they aren't as good as the three solemn tracks in the middle, they're still pretty decent and inoffensive. 'Crushed', despite continuing with that poor guitar tone, actually manages to get a bit of power and grit behind the song, actually feeling somewhat intense as opposed to weak and dated. 'Greater Goodbye' has a nice Anathema-esque vocal part over more ambient guitars, and like many songs here, feels like it could be a great track with a bit more work (although those 'la la la' vocals near the end are awful). 'Ladders' is a bit repetitive and annoying but it also has some nice melodies in it.

But while I enjoy these songs, there is still a great feeling of annoyance coming with these tracks. Taking big influence from Radiohead, the drums on the entire album sound straight off Kid A's title track, and not in a good way. Repetitive, uninteresting timbres riddle the entire record, with not so much as a glitch or a twist coming in to show of their producing skills. They use electronic percussion, but only use it for its bad parts, and not the good. And to add to that, and some of the less interesting timbres here (read: all the guitars and all the drums), many of the songs just quite simply don't have the substance to be worth anything.

The album's title track, and 'Ruination' are the only songs here I would really call bad, getting there by repeating one uninteresting line over and over and over until it becomes beyond the territory of uninteresting and into the territory of absolutely maddening. Especially in combination with that bloody guitar lick at the end of every phrase in the title track. God, I want to bloody punch my speakers every time it comes in. Opening track 'Feel It' starts off with a hellishly dull instrumental beat and one of the worst guitar parts I have ever heard, with only the vocals there to hold it up, but as the song progresses, some piano and raised intensity comes in to (almost) save it. In combination with the awful title track and the poor 'Kid Corner', the entire album gets off to a very poor start, which many will inevitably judge it on. 'Riding In Squares' starts off as one of the worst on the record, but about halfway through a truly awesome synth part comes in and turns it into one of the best. As I have already said, so many of these songs sound like low- effort b-sides that took five minutes to write. It's like I'm listening to a bunch of computer demos for a band about to go to studio to sort the bad from good.

But even if this album is very amateurish, maddening, and plain bad at times, there obviously is still some good here, and enough to bring me back to this record a couple of times. But personally, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. The good is too scattered, and not worth going through the bad to get too. One thing I will give the entire album credit for is the flow - all the songs link together very well, although at times that is a bad thing and at times it's good, it certainly is the only thing that proves to me that Archive have put any real effort into this album. An okay album, but not one I'm likely to return to after this review.

6.2

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Restriction by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.56 | 57 ratings

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Restriction
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Archive triumphantly return in 2015 with some of their best work ever, a wonderful way to start the new year in prog. Starting out as a hidden gem of '90's trip hop that uniquely programmed mellotron and Hammond sounds into their samplers, they ended up moving into prog proper, along the way shedding the hop but not the trip. Their LP debut "Londinium" was masterful, but in their prog days so far their work, enjoyable as it has always been, pales to a fair degree. Until now, that is, with "Restriction" finding the band managing to finally truly master their style, and on top of that add post-industrial influences and so sealing this album's greatness. Their progressive trip rock comes out fully formed and better than ever, grabbing listeners with the one-two punch of "Feel It" and the title track, and only getting better and more enjoyable from there. Going through the record, there are also the aforementioned post-industrial moments, mainly the closer "Ladders", my personal favourite and an eerie yet appropriate way to end this journey. The band just pulls out all the stops to truly show what they can do. Fans will be bowled over in ecstasy and many other listeners will become hooked. This does prog bleakness better than some of Steven Wilson's work, even. Highly recommended to modern crossover and trip fans.
 Londinium by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.10 | 41 ratings

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Londinium
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Before Archive became one of the hidden gems of modern crossover prog, they were one of the many hidden gems of the '90's glory days of trip hop. But, even then it seems they had prog on the brain: Keeler's programming on this album involves a lot of sounds that come out more like mellotron and Hammond organ than any other keyboard, which they are played alongside via sampler. Hmmm... I wonder what this band could do in a few years... Anyways, for what it is "Londinium" is one of the greatest ever trip hop albums, partially on the strength and use of mellotron and organ sounds. This adds an extra, extremely unique angle to most of the tracks on the record. Otherwise, this is some nice, smooth, tight trip not afraid to have both rapping and singing. The beats are well done, and well supported by Rosco John's drumming. Keeler's various keys are all excellent, not just the proggy ones. Roya Arab sings beautifully, and John raps wonderfully. As such, mainly a massive recommendation to trip hop fans, but adventurous progheads may wish to hear what prog keyboards sound like in a radically different genre.
 Controlling Crowds Part IV by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.82 | 55 ratings

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Controlling Crowds Part IV
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is the 2nd album to the Controlling Crowds concept. The companion album was released in the previous year before this and it contained the first 3 parts in 13 tracks. Part IV takes up this entire album and it is the concluding section of the concept which is about 50 minutes long compared to over 70 minutes on the previous album.

The format is quite close to the last album in that there are still 4 lead singers (one is a rapper who appears on a few of the tracks here). The vibe still echoes of trip-hop and lite prog with a lot of rock and pop sensibilities but with a lot of variety and quality in the musicianship. To me, this album seems more polished than the last one, but if anything, that actually works to make this one not quite as cohesive as the last album in that each song seems too distinct and not so tied together. These issues are quite minor though.

The music here is still heavy on keyboard and programming, but as I said on the previous album, this actually works well here. The writing on both of the albums is stellar and so is the sound. The album starts off in a faster tempo which is a nice change of pace after the mostly mid to slow tempo previous album. The 2nd track actually uses some interesting prog hooks and some great effects. "To the End" has some very original and beautiful harmonics in the vocals. "Pictures" features some quick percussion backing up an interesting slow and airy vocal and the strings build up nicely to a beautiful, strong dynamic more reminiscent of the first album in the series. Interesting sounds flow throughout the tracks, but also contribute to the somewhat disconnected feeling of the tracks as a whole.

Now, even though the quality and musicianship remain high for the rest of the album, the songs tend to lack a little bit of dynamic that was more present in the last album. I think the idea was to try to prepare the songs for more accessibility for the radio, but I think it makes the album suffer a little bit. In any case, it's still prog in the same vein as The Alan Parsons Project (not the same sound, but the same sub-genre and way of thinking) but with a more mature sound and musicality. In other words, better than the APP for the most part and not as cheesy. Don't get me wrong, it worked for APP in the early days, but Archive is just so much better.

So, where my personal taste for the first album was 5 stars, the PA rating system merited it a 4 star rating. In this case, I am more in agreement with the final rating on this one, personal and PA rating both sit at 4 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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