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A Geoff Mann Band - 1990 Loud Symbols

ARTIST: A Geoff Mann Band
ALBUM: Loud Symbols
LABEL: Food For Thought
YEAR: 1990


LINEUP: The Rev Geoff Mann - front voice, wobbly/non-wobbly electric and acoustic guitars * Paul Keeble - bass, keys, back voice * John Maycraft - lead and atmospheric electric guitars * Gary Mitchell - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Obsessed * 02 The Kingdom Is Coming * 03 More To This * 04 Never Mind * 05 Crying Inside * 06 What In The World * 07 Signs Of War * 08 Try Again * 09 Find Your Feet * 10 Dance

Despite releasing a clutch of solo albums and albums with A Geoff Mann Band during the second half of his career, Geoff Mann, it seems, will always be best remembered as the old Twelfth Night frontman. 'Loud Symbols', released sometime after his departure from that band, saw Geoff throwing himself into a new decade with all the energy he could muster.

The Songs
This album has a great edginess. Anyone listening with the pre-conceived idea they're going to get an album's worth of progressive rock epics with huge solos and self-indulgent lyrics will be surprised. There is very little here, musically speaking, which has anything in common with Geoff's past, as 'Loud Symbols' is an album of (mostly) accessible tunes in a pop/rock vein. Right from the outset, the dominant musical force comes from the spiky rhythm guitar parts played by Mann and Maycraft. The lop-sided funk of 'Obsessed' and 'I'm Still Human' are the best representatives of the album's sound. Mann credits himself as playing wobbly guitar parts, but in all fairness, he needn't have worried, wobbly or not, the guitar sound works well with his ever-distinctive voice. 'Worthless Song' follows a similar musical path to the aforementioned tracks, though this time the vocals are slightly more aggressive, as Mann questions the way some people look at life. Having been a long-time fan, I find 'Loud Symbols' to be a solid album from beginning to end. However, if I had to pick stand-out tracks, they would be 'Try Again' with its mid-tempo chorus driven arrangement, 'Find Your Feet' which, once again, features simple but effective guitar work and 'Never Mind'. 'Never Mind', being a slower number, represents Geoff at his best, the warmth of his 'love it/hate it' voice coming through. The lyrics concerning the modern world are delivered with a typical cynicism.

In Summary
I've always felt Geoff's post Twelfth Night work should've reached a bigger audience. If you're thinking about trying some of it, this album is about a good as any place to start.

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