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Planet X - 2002 Moon Babies

ARTIST: Planet X
ALBUM: Moon Babies
LABEL: Inside Out
YEAR: 2002


LINEUP: Derek Sherinian - keyboards * Tony McAlpine - guitars * Virgil Donati - drums

Guest Bass - Billy Sheehan, Tom Kennedy, Jimmy Johnson

TRACK LISTING: 01 Moon Babies * 02 The Noble Savage * 03 Ataraxia * 04 Tonaz * 05 Boy With A Flute * 06 Interlude In Milan * 07 Digital Vertigo * 08 Ground Zero * 09 Midnight Bell * 10 Ignotus Per Ignotium


It's time to visit Planet X once again. Upon arrival, make sure you check in your sanity at the door. I'd often read good things about the band but never managed to hear them first hand, so I was quite keen to hear this. Okay, so I knew it was in the jazz-rock vein as opposed to prog rock, but Derek Sherinian has often hit the mark before and Tony McAlpine is quite handy with a six-string (did someone say 'flash bastard?') even if a little too Malmsteen influenced on his solo albums, so I thought I'd enjoy 'Moon Babies'. I was completely unprepared for the sheer intensity which awaited me. I can't pretend to be any kind of anorak when it comes to jazzy things, but I know what I like. The laid back atmosphere of Steve Lukather and Larry Carlton's live album works wonders for me, as does the inventive but very appealing 'Tales From The Bulge' by Michael Landau, so something along those lines would've been great. Sadly, the new offering from Planet X has pretty much nothing in common with those classy 'late night' listens. Most of the stuff on offer has a really hard edge and to be honest, either McAlpine's playing far too many unnecessary notes or my CD player's skipping. So, he can play jazz scales with ease and really quickly to boot, but that's rather pointless in my opinion if there's little room for the melodies to grow.

The Songs
I'm sure it's no coincidence that the bits of this album I enjoy are the few slower paced moments. The middle section of 'Moonbabies' is really nice with its pompy stabbing keyboards and flowing guitar notes with lots of vibrato. More vibrato all round would have been a great help, as much of the guitar work on this album has a staccato approach which is quite jarring. The other slower paced moments here - sections of 'The Noble Savage' and 'Tonaz' also work better, and to be honest, unless any of you out there are really into jazz-rock, these are the only things on the album I can recommend.

In Summary
I need to go and have a lie down..

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