Category Archives: RED JASPER
The meaningful lyrics explore human nature, religion and beliefs within compact songs with clear vocals, strong melodies and catchy hooks plus plenty of synthesiser and guitar; it’ll sound great live.
Opening with the catchy up-tempo track called ’7′ there’s nice keyboard-melodies and synth-washes (Lloyd George), supporting DC’s lead vocal. ‘She Waits’ is a great head-nodding rocker featuring some splendid guitar work (Robin Harrison) and is cleverly arranged with some Purson-like psychedelic moments and should be a live favourite.
‘Forth Of Fife’ has lovely synth swathes and another highlight is ‘The Gathering’ with up-front keys, plus great bass and strong guitar work with a lovely Marillion-tinged instrumental mid-section…777 delivers well-balanced enjoyable end-to-end listens.
Classic Rock Society (August 2016)
The band has almost completely abandoned the real folky elements in their music; no tin whistles, no mandolin, no traditional folk melodies. Instead you get catchy synth themes and poppy vocal melodies as on the opener 7, a real waltz on She Waits, and metal riffing in The Gathering. They produce very poppy choruses (Nothing to Believe) and re-work the leading theme of Forth of Fife in the next song (The Gathering) without gluing the songs together. There the strength of the vocal lines becomes very apparent. Clifford manages to sing the long lyric lines without any obvious strain, and makes these songs fluid and melodious….
Bonus track October and April is a cover of The Rasmus featuring Annette Olzon song, jointly sung by Clifford and his stunning musical, dancing and acting daughter Soheila. It is a rather cheesy and folky ballad, with acoustic guitar and spinet-like keys sounds that reminded me of the Dan Fogelberg/Emmylou Harris duet Only The Heart May Know on the Innocent Age album. Their voices blend together very well and the sober-but-effective arrangement makes this potential lamentable song a really nice one to listen to. I highly prefer it over the original. 8/10
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (July 2016)
Folk approaches have not entirely disappeared, but are now less frequent. This is perhaps most clear on the track “She Waits”, which is really rocking – a beautiful piece. Among the highlights include the great opener “7″ and the pop/prog “Reaching out” with its anthemic vocals and detailed synth solos. The soft synth number “Paradise Folly” is an excellent album closer.
Musik An Sich (Translated – June 2016)
…’Dragonfly’ includes an introduction with acoustic guitar but the tone in general is again neo-prog. ‘Paradise Folly’ is like JETHRO TULL: a beautiful ballad on acoustic guitar, with romantic keyboards, a beautiful voice, loads of emotion and a Gilmouresque solo. ‘October and April’ is an unplugged bonus track with the addition of a female voice. I do not know if all this will please the old fans, but they will gain more fans, because RED JASPER took a serious facelift with this album.
Highlands Magazine (Translated – June 2016)
777 is vintage prog-rock – it should have been recorded in 1974. Lloyd George’s keyboards are the key sound that grounds the album, not with Wakemanesque flight of fancy – well, not much – but with solid swathes of sound. The bass and drums are equally solid with Harrison’s guitars doing the rest. ‘Reaching Out’ is a prime example of the way the band works…there’s a bonus track, a cover of ‘October and April’ from Finnish band The Rasmus to emphasise Red Jasper’s credentials. If you like your rock music layered in pomp and circumstance, you’ll love this.
R2 Magazine (May 2016)
…with “Reaching Out” bringing a brighter tone to proceedings and Robin Harrison’s early Rothery inspired guitar styling taking hold, it’s a genuine, classy highlight of this album. As with the band’s precious release, lyrically the work of writer Clive Barker has inspired the exploration of human nature, religion and belief. Along with an intriguing album cover that evokes the most recent series of American Horror Story (Hotel), the imagery, both physical and mental is strong. When Red Jasper really hit their stride, they easily match that level of atmosphere.
Sea Of Tranquility (May 2016)
The band’s eagerly anticipated follow-up set mines a similar melodic vein as the five musicians explore the vagaries of the human condition via the refreshingly uncluttered delights of ‘Forth Of Fife’, ’7′ and ‘Paradise Folly’.
Kevin Bryan, Regional Newspapers (April 2016)
The glossy anxiety of “7″ introducing a new set of rules, now erstwhile long instrumental passages have left ample room for David Clifford’s vocals that launch the heavy raga of “Blessed With Gold” on a deliciously high note, although sometimes words seem to twist the tunes into slightly repetitive patterns. As a result, the melody which unites “The Gathering” with “Forth Of Fife” could have outstayed its welcome and drown the “Firth of Forth / Firth Of Fifth” reference if not for the songs’ additional turns and distinctly different arrangements. So where others would indulge in countless time signatures, RJ wrap the verses of “She Waits” in waltz and harden its choruses to rock riffs, while giving the despondency of “Nothing To Believe” an anthemic bounce.
Still, where Lloyd George’s cosmic synthesizers make “Reaching Out” a typical art-rock ballad, “Paradise Folly” gets down to an acoustic, spiritual foundation of it all, something that’s stressed on a bonus cover of THE RASMUS’ “October And April” as DC and his daughter Soheila (whose solo album is long overdue) deliver a dramatic duet. There might always be seven reasons not to see it clear, but with “777″ RJ clear this view in spectacular fashion. ****
DMME.net (April 2016)
This is a solid and entertaining release from Red Jasper, and the fact that the songs linger in the memory long after the CD has stopped spinning is a testimony to their quality. True, the music is not overly complex and the arrangements relatively fuss-free, but that only adds to the appeal.
Dutch Progressive Rock Page (May 2015)
Opening with the title track the Red Jasper sound is still reassuringly there, as a short lush symphonic intro soon gives way to Clifford’s fine vocals delivering the story telling lyrics with perfect clarity, both here and throughout the album; there’s also mellotron-swathes plus bouncy vintage Marillionesque synthesiser (Lloyd George) and lovely guitar work (Robin Harrison).
Classic Rock Society (March/April 2015)
The Great And Secret Show is an excellent symphonic prog album that completely came out of left field. Fans of melodic progressive rock should love this.
Sea Of Tranquility (March 2015)
Their fans will be thrilled, beginners may want to review previous albums. One would expect a little more with the passage of time but it’s still good material. Rating: 4/5
Richard Hawey (Profil) (March 2015)
Musically things are also faithfully Neo Prog, Lloyd George’s early Marillion-era keyboard sounds bouncing keenly off Robin Harrison’s darting guitar lines; making the politically dissatisfied (always an RJ lyrical theme) ‘Living The Life’ and ‘The Great And Secret Show energetic surges of Prog power…it’s a really good album…
Fireworks magazine (March 2015)
‘Living The Life’ picks up the joie de vivre theme, although there’s a typical English guilt rolled into its theatrical charm which switches into a dream-chase, and living that dream might be this great and secret show each of us participates in. More so, it’s the force behind the band’s resurrection – not a misstep here. *****
DMME.net (February 2015)
As for the epic title song, yes, the circus macabre has come to town – with a promise to kill off the clown and with unique acts for everyone! Musically, the songs blow across various sonic realms and we’re talking quite a vintage sound here, with echoes of Jethro Tull and Dutch prog-rockers Focus.
Feel free to enter – come and see the hanging, come and hear the music!
Music-News.com (January 2015)
Strongly reminiscent of Solstice or a more folky, less scary Twelfth Night, Red Jasper utilise a combination of the expected neo tropes: soaring guitar solos, classic keyboard sounds, acoustic guitar and a gently affected, over-enunciated vocal delivery from frontman David Clifford. Slabs of Mellotron underpin the title track and the jauntily majestic An Hour Of Time, sultry sax adds colour to The Time Is Right and Robin Harrison’s guitar wrings emotion from Ray Of Darkness…This is an excellent album for those who hanker after more innocent, less sonically polished times.
Classic Rock Prog magazine
…it’s Robin Harrison’s soaring guitar that lifts opener “Perfect Symmetry” from the ’80s-indebted sonic boom and pours magic in Celtic-tinctured instrumental “Waterfalls (Rhaeadreau)”, and it’s drummer David Clifford, who later on entered the musicals scene, that delivers the album’s tremulous ballads, “Through The Dawn” and “In Her Eyes” with their classical piano line and acoustic lace that SCORPIONS would kill for.
DME Music Site
A few albums later (also now available on Angel Air) and 1996 saw the band record Anagramary, which would be the band’s last (the label folding, outside business interests). It continues in a similar (very English) vein, with opener Perfect Symmetry a hint of power metal over an earthy Celtic Marillion feel. Babylon as a much more modern progressive feel, building from the acoustic intro. In Her Eyes re-explores the folk prog side. Some good tracks, work exploring. And it comes with a bonus track too.
Joe Geesin – Get Ready to ROCK!
…the tragedy is that it was released with little fanfare and the band called it a day soon afterwards. It is well worth checking out, especially as the band are now reforming and will be playing tracks from it live for the first time.
Classic Rock Society (September 2012)
Almost completely gone are the brash punky overtones…this is an album teetering on the brink of standard ‘neo-prog’…
Fireworks magazine (October 2012)
…the juxtaposition of painful imagery and supple delivery in “Soldier’s Vision” hits the hardest, and “Contended Man” is the most elegant, its acoustic flow, though taut, makes a nice contrast to the tension of “Go For It” with its guitar bellicosity smoothed by a flute swirl.
But “Crawling Into Work” comes on hectic, a working class rock ‘n’ roll with a reggae bit reeking of Strummerville, while “Second Coming” and “Magpie” from “Sting In The Tale” gets flattened and rather less impressive than on the album, the latter’s vocal pack notwithstanding.
Still, when another unreleased song, “Cool To Be Crazy”, is unfurled to round off the show the madness receives its method, and the titular action begs for a repetition indeed. ***2/3
DME Music Site
Action Replay is an excellent introduction to the reasonably unique prog infested, politically angry and folk tinged music of this band.
Fireworks magazine (Sep-Oct 2012)
Action Replay is a live set recorded at the beginning of 1992 and so called as the late 1991 show planned yielded an unusable recording. The recording here is good but edited strangely – the tracks seem jump or fade one to another with little crowd or banter between. Still, the music is solid and tight, the prog mixing folk prog (Jethro Tull) through Crimson, Hawkwind and Genesis to Marillion. The delivery is hard and punchy, with some changes of influence, it’s a decent set that captures the live sound and catalogue well. And the tin whistles and guest keyboards add an extra dimension. The lead guitar is, at times, blistering too.
Joe Geesin – Get Ready to ROCK!
Perhaps, in the end the concept has worn thin, and one record in this vein would have sufficed. Yet it’s impossible not to admire such an undertaking in the shallow climate of ’90s. The Bard would have liked it. ***** / ***
DME Music Site
Fish era Marillion shows up as a very strong influence, although the ever present folk themes continue via the usage of mandolin, whistles and bodhran…a strange and unusual mix of traditional English music, 80′s neo-prog and stinging aggression, Red Jasper were a band slightly out of their time, but nonetheless enjoyable for being so…
Fireworks magazine (Sep-Oct 2012)
Recorded in 1990 but set squarely in Thatcher’s Britain of the previous decade, this folk prog five-piece nails its politics firmly to the mast of the Left, lambasting state authority and control, jingoism, corporate greed and corruption from every quarter. Founder and front man Davey Dodds’ vocal stylings take getting used to, but a few listens in and it all starts to take shape. Unapologetically barbed, droll and razor-sharp lyrics are squeezed into phlegm-flecked shouting over sawing acoustics and supercharged sax while guest Fairport Ric Saunders lends nimble flourishes of violin, the effect a curious blend of Billy Bragg and Van der Graaf Generator (a parpingly-proggish ‘Secret Society’) by way of the Dropkick Murphys.
Three bonus tracks here reveal added polish in ‘Pull that Thumb (Off The Top Of Your Head)’ and ‘Flagpole’ while dramatic closer ‘England’s Green And Pleasant Land?’ is a reflective even plaintive piece revealing a more rounded talent than initial impression would suggest. ****
Review by Peter Muir – Get Ready To ROCK!
In places, FAIRPORTS’ Ric Sanders gives the results an air an authenticity with his fiddle’s diddle, yet elsewhere, the sax-oiled “Company Director” posits its critique much seriously, revealing all the depth of JASPER’s psyche, as does the funereal march of “Second Coming”, sprinkled with mandolin and whistles.
Still, it’s the EP track “England’s Green And Pleasant Land”, one of the bonuses here, that provides the ensemble with an epic, while “Flagpole” is a “Sting In The Tale” in miniature. The bigger they get the better, though, and that’s a blistering start of a rise. ****
DME Music Site
…”Sting In The Tale” shows a ‘Red Jasper’ heard from the beginning of the group. Characteristic for the music from the early period was the coupling of rock to folk music. The drive has a harder sound than on later albums and is not representative of the group’s later calmer sound – this is clearly a group who is looking to hear their own sound.
…Red Jasper would go on to bigger, better things (something that upcoming reissues ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and ‘The Winter’s Tale’ will attest) however ‘Sting In The Tale’ is still, for all its faults, a compelling debut album that illustrates great verve and skill.