Down And Out In London And Paris, their latest of five studio releases to date, sees prog rock band The Tangent concentrate more than ever before on their artistic expressiveness. “Our new album is a 100 percent musical project. Where the previous album, Not As Good As The Book, was this whole multimedia thing with illustrations and science fiction novel, this one is about five pieces of music on a single CD,” keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Andy Tillison points out. “In terms of format, it’s more like our very first album, kicking off with a 19-minute piece which I am sure fans of the band’s prog stuff are going to like. Hopefully a lot!”

Tillison is referring to ‘Where Are They Now?’, an expansive number in terms of playing time and style with an unusual lyrical idea: it’s made up of little stories about the characters The Tangent have sung about before and brings their stories up to date. Like a kind of thread which runs almost invisibly through the whole history of this British band. The track ‘The Company Car’ is by no means less imposing, showing Tillison’s influences from one of his favourite artists of all time, Joni Mitchell: “The Joni Mitchell influence is not typical for us. But it all does actually sound like The Tangent, which satisfies us that we can do some different stuff and still sound like ourselves.” The album finishes off with the most complex number The Tangent have ever written, a Canterbury-style song called ‘Ethanol Hat Nail’.

There have been line-up changes again since the previous album, Not As Good As The Book: Jaime Jalazar and Jonas Reingold have left the fold, so now The Tangent consists, along with Tillison, guitarist Guy Manning and saxophonist/flutist Theo Travis, drummer Paul Burgess and bassist Jonathan Barrett. “For the first time since 2003, all the members of the Tangent are English,” Tillison rejoices. “I think that’s an important thing, because one of the most defining things about The Tangent’s sound has been a certain ‘Englishness’ – an affinity with the roots of prog rock.”

Let’s take the time to introduce the two new band members, seeing that their distinctive style has indisputably left its mark on Down And Out In London And Paris. Paul Burgess is, and always has been, the drummer of 10cc. Having been with them since the 1970s, he’s still with Graham Gouldman’s 10cc now. Burgess also worked in the past with Camel on Stationary Traveller and Pressure Points, as well as on stage with Jethro Tull. “He’s a very different drummer to either of the Swedish guys we had, and it took a bit of getting used to,” Tillison confesses, “but once everything clicked into place we found we did have a new really organic, exciting and beefy feel to the rhythm. It’s more like having someone like Ginger Baker in the band. Great.”

Jonathan Barrett has stepped into the shoes of Jonas Reingold, contemporary prog’s best-loved bass player, so people are going to be wondering most what this will be like. Tillison: “I’ve worked with Jonathan before in Po90 of course, and all I can say is that his playing is truly inspirational throughout the record. He has a different style again from Jonas, but a style and technique which I believe suits the band very well. His sound is gorgeous, and his fretless work is absolutely magnificent. It was a great experience.”

Remains the question to be answered what relationship Down And Out In London And Paris has with George Orwell’s novel of the same name and whether – as one may be tempted to assume in view of this title – The Tangent’s latest release is in fact a concept album. “It’s not a concept album, although, as usual, there are themes that re-occur during the course of the recording,” Tillison explains. “There’s a song called ‘Paroxetine 20mg’ that looks at life through the eyes of someone on prescription drugs who feels rather empty, there’s ‘Where Are They Now’, which ties together characters from earlier songs, and there’s ‘Ethanol Hat Nail’, which asks the question: ‘Now that we have so much music instantly available to us, do we value it as much as we used to?’ The album has nothing to do with the novel by Orwell at all, other than the conscious borrowing of his title. There are two songs on the album about poverty, one set in Paris, one set in London. It’s as simple as that. Our use of the title is simply a pun, I suppose.”


CD Limited First Edition Digipak w. bonus track 0505048

CD Regular Edition Jewelcase 0505042


Andy Tillison – vocals, keyboards, electric guitar

Jonathan Barrett – bass guitar

Paul Burgess – drums

Theo Travis – say, flute

Guy Manning – acoustic guitar, vocals


The Music That Died Alone (2003)

The World That We Drive Through (2004)

A Place In The Queue (2006)

Going Off On One DVD (2007)

Not As Good As The Book (2008)

Down And Out In Paris And London (2009)

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