Ross Jennings- "Shadow of my future self"
The mainman of HAKEN comes out of nowhere with a solo album. What you may expect is here. Powerful progressive rock with a melodic twist. The funky-electro "Better times", the melancholic, poetic, emotionally charged "The words we can't unsay " Jennings on the contrary with his morning job or main band focus on the melodies along with the complex time patterns. With IT BITES influences meeting METALLICA at the same song, KINGS X are the easiest comparison. At the end of the day who needs a comparison. The progressive side of the album is inevitable as it is the ability of Jennings to write commercially oriented songs ,mellowing his sound and still keep his dignity intact as the core of his music, focus on quality and not popularity. With no discounts at his sound he manages to bring his music to more acceptable levels from the mainstream audience, dont imagine he suddenly moves from the Peter Gabriel to Phil Collins era in GENESIS. He finds his way into the meanders of modern progressive rock, kinda like Neil Morse without the Christianity references and a click less melodic. If OASIS could actually be more than pop stars and transform their sensibility to songs they would write something like "Better times". "Violet" is the perfect mix between KINGS X and Neil Morse with its funky breaks and heavy prog metal main parts, a joy to the ears and a puzzle to the Spotify listener. "The Apologist" with its jazz overtones and JETHRO TULL (way at the back) references of the flute, is a prog jazz masterpiece, chaotic,melodic, jazzy
."Rocket science" has a soft spot for melody, reminding so much of IT BITES with some great melodic parts aiming to the airplay, the great pop bands of 80s used to have and i m talking about ULTRAVOX, YAZOO, HUMAN LEAGUE and far less the metal bands."Young at heart" is easily the best song YES never wrote, while "Black velvet" gets its treatment by Jennings in "Since that day" showing how a popular riff could be the base for a progressive masterpiece,complex yet catchy and melodic.Other times CRANBERRIES is a good idea to include in your melodic references,influences and make "Feelings" an instant melodic hit.
It is the 11 min long "Phoenix" where Ross Jennings spread his wings to create a melodic prog/pop masterpiece,bombastic, melodic, sentimental, a song inspiring a man in the dungeon to search for the tiniest light uplifting, it works like a giant crane that lifts you up to the sky and makes you almost feeling the warmth and touching the sun. "Grounded" comes as the second longest song of the album, with the mid tempo feeling, dragging you into Jennings mesmerizing musical landscape. What really makes the difference is that Jennings keeps most of the songs under 5 min, almost pop for the progressive standards without compromising, in anything, time complexity, melodic changes, fusion parts. The main thing he had in mind is to write songs and this is the stronghold of the album. Not musical exercises for the conservatoire nerds but songs for the listener who isn't into the consuming plastic pop or rock music of spotify.
With ``Shadow of my future self" Jennings points us in a direction we hope our future selves will indulge as much as he does.