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Articles Home » 2006 Articles » Jadis - 2006 Photoplay
Jadis - 2006 Photoplay

ALBUM: Photoplay
LABEL: Inside Out
YEAR: 2006


LINEUP: Gary Chandler - guitars, vocals * Martin Orford - keyboards * John Jowitt - bass * Stephen Christey - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 There's A Light * 02 What Goes Around * 03 Asleep In My Hands * 04 Standing Still * 05 I Hear Your Voice * 06 Make Me Move * 07 Who I Am * 08 Need To Breathe * 09 Please Open Your Eyes * 10 All You've Ever Known * 11 Photoplay



Jadis, an English band, steeped in the time honored tradition of progressive rock. Often compared less favorably than some of their peers, but depending where you sit on the neo-prog fence, you'll either enjoy their variation of this oft-maligned genre or dismiss them with disdain, preferring instead to dust off your 'Close To The Edge' CD by Yes which lies idle on the shelf. If indeed your overview of prog boils down to 20 minute excursions as it was back in the 70's, then you'll be pleasantly surprised that things have changed quite a bit since then. Digestible pieces of music are now in vogue, and the transition to melodic commercial territory makes this genre far more interesting than what it may have been. Jadis in the meantime, have wrapped their musical talent around a centrum of modern-day Rush, Marillion, Yes and (as we've heard previously) Pink Floyd. But it doesn't stop there, surely you get the picture though? Die-hard prog fans might not fancy Gary Chandler's move to cut-back the over-indulgences of previous albums. Making it shorter, guitar-oriented and tougher will move Jadis out of that genre if they carry on this way, and judging by Chandler's material both here and previously with the 2003 effort 'Fanatic', it seems the transition has already been made, comparisons being made to bands like Porcupine Tree for instance. Jadis are not as heavy as a band like Arena, though Chandler's guitar is quite forward in the mix.

The Songs
The scene-setter' There's A Light' reconfirms that thought. The guitars very prominent, while the jangling guitar-lines on 'What Goes Around' proves to be hypnotic after a while. Adding weight to the rock inclination is' Asleep In My Hands', whereby Alex Lifeson like guitar-parts mix with some retro organ work. Taking a Genesis slant on prog is 'Standing Still', it's followed by the Yes like excursion of 'I Hear Your Voice', the rhythm section of Jowitt and Christey stand out here, accompanying Chandler's Steve Howe like guitar runs. Rush are again a reference point on 'Make A Move', but the track wafts in and out of quieter passages with female vocals providing the ethereal element. At six minutes, 'Who I Am' takes on a Marillion like personality, and considering the relevance of 'Photoplay' within the neo-prog movement, Chandler must be thinking this is a highly appropriate question to ask! 'Need To Breathe' is a very sharp and incisive track, hard rock at best, with nice keyboard lines that retains an essence of melody. Jadis provide a glorious acoustic wash with 'All You've Ever Known', the track waking up in the middle section with aggressive drumming and strident guitar, though fades out with that lilting sound we heard earlier. The album ends with the instrumental 'Photoplay', interesting keyboard sequences and a Floydian solo from Chandler, ensuring we leave the CD with a sugar-sweet candy treat.

In Summary
It is clear that 'Photoplay' is a simplistic set of songs, compared to previous Jadis material. Intricateness and complexity though still evident, is not as it once was. Perhaps that is the reason why keyboardist Martin Orford decided to call it quits soon after as has been reported. The usual patter about it being due to musical differences probably an accurate call in this case, refer my comments above. Chandler it would seem has invested quite a bit of time in understanding new technology for composition and production, and as a result, the songs take on more of a guitar orientation with keyboards to add the colour.. not the other way round. The end result is a neo-prog album that opts toward the 'rock' side of the fence. My guess is that Chandler has a few decisions to make in the future about the direction of Jadis. With a lesser role for keyboards now evident, and going down the guitar route, this may result in indifference and confusion among fans. However, it could open up a whole new raft of fans. Who can say? However, for those of you growing tiresome of today's melodic rock fare and would like to investigate a little further into 21st century prog rock, then taking a journey with Jadis might just appeal. 'Photoplay' might not be their best representative work, so investing in their earlier material (the first two albums in particular) will round out your collection appreciably.

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#1 | Jez on January 09 2009 02:07:12
The Jadis debut 'More Than Meets The Eye' is without a doubt one of my fave Prog albums and I have bought every one since, with varying impressions. 'Across The Water' was a strong 2nd album, but the following 'Somersault' and 'Understand' studio albums really didn't do alot for me. 2003's 'Fanatic' was a much stronger release and definately a step in the right direction, which brings us to the 'Photoplay' album.
Without a doubt, their finest release since the debut. What I like most about this band is the way they try to make the dreaded (to some) Prog genre and try to make it more accesible. No 20 minute long songs here, just 5-6 minute good quality Rock songs without all the Prog excesses. The main It Bites influence is still worn well on the sleeve with this release, especially in the Guitar dept., and the quality of the songwriting is definately back to it's full potential aswell. Highly recommended.
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