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NEW ALBUM: Downes Braide Association - Skyscraper Souls
Downes Braide Association ~ Skyscraper Souls
[Image: DBA-SLEEVE-Skyscraper-Souls-hi-res-300x300.jpg]
Chris Braide is a prolific writer/producer for some of pop’s biggest names and is also involved in writing music for movies; those factors, combined with Geoffrey Downes’ background has culminated in a pet project for which this is the third and (they say) their most progressive release. I’m pleased to see/hear they’ve got themselves a real live rhythm section for this one! (Drummer Ash Soan and bassist Andy Hodge.)
There are lots of ft.’s on this album (– they could’ve just said ‘with’, but oh well) … after the brief “Prelude”, the album kicks off with “Skyscraper Souls” (which is just over eighteen minutes long) and maybe it’s the spoken lead-in, (there are a few words interspersed throughout the album) but I was immediately taken to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds which is probably an unfair comparison as it’s not intended to make anyone think this is  anywhere near as epic a production as that was, nor as huge a concept. Nonetheless, I listened with a fair amount of enjoyment and happiness in my heart – there is really nothing not to like. The ‘associations’, or ft.’s are well considered and work nicely, and there is a conceptual thread, Geoffrey Downes’ keys are brilliant and there’s some other worthy instrumentation too. Chris Braide has a great voice and somehow juuuust manages to avoid overdramatising and risking sounding like a rock opera; a very fine line! Apparently he’s been set on doing a big expansive piece of work for some time, having been a fan of epics ala Yes, Mike Oldfield and the like.
Track listing … (with ft.’s in brackets)

1.     Prelude (Andy Partridge – XTC)
2.     Skyscraper Souls (Kate Pierson – B52s)
3.     Glacier Girl (Andy Partridge)
4.     Angel On Your Shoulder (Matthew Koma)
5.     Tomorrow (David Longdon – Big Big Train)
6.     Lighthouse (Tim Bowness)
7.     Skin Deep (Marc Almond)
8.     Darker Times (Andy Partridge)
9.     Finale
I find the album has prog leanings and that it’s easy to listen to without being easy listening – very well put together if somewhat less flowing than what might have been had this been a complete outfit as opposed to ft.’s. On the other hand, one might argue that the ft.’s add interest. And it’s not trying to be something else – this is a collaboration of artists indulging themselves and their own whims, not attempting to emulate others. I think the thing that puts me off some of the newer progressive type acts is that they try to be Pink Floyd and naturally, they just don’t get there. Despite what I said earlier about War of the Worlds, this is not that nor does it want to be – it’s unapologetic pop/rock of good quality, with some catchy hooks and good lyrics, thoroughly enjoying itself. (I see ‘it’ has taken on a persona, lol!!)
The album was put together remotely, for the most part, Braide and Downes didn’t record a thing together, and although that must be a saving grace in many ways, (the fact that this is a possibility, so that touring schedules etc., can be overcome) I think there’s a little bit of warmth that goes missing along the way. That said, I also think it’s beautifully presented, from the Roger Dean artwork to the inclusion of an intro and outro that just seem to add a final polish. The acid test, IMHO, is whether one wants to listen again, and then how often you go back to an album - oh, and earworms of course, Big Grin ! Time will tell ….
Still nothing on YT except an excerpt from the title track – I listened on Deezer … - my favs, the title, “Tomorrow” and “Skin Deep” …
That excerpt … 

"The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us." ~ Bill Watterson
a huge array of different styled artists featured on the album Ruby...

listened to the linked track...thumbs up from me, thanks

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