What would we become if allowed to grow into our own passions? Lance King raises this tantalising question right off the bat in his second solo album, “ReProgram” that was released on 29 March 2019. His concern for the death of a child’s creativity is underscored in the music. I hear the dread in the volleys of driving kick drum and plaintive keyboards, while the guitars point accusatory fingers at a dystopian status quo where conformity trumps originality.
King delivers a compelling performance in “Pointing Fingers”, and I can hear why his tenor has graced the likes of Pyramaze and Balance Of Power: liquid ease. I’m in love with Kim Oleson’s guitar work on “Stand Your Ground”. It is no doubt tempting to follow the vocalist ever upward into the song’s crescendo and then lose yourself in soloist heaven, but not Oleson. He plays with both feet firmly rooted in the ground. His modern tone suits King’s voice to a tee, and when he does solo it is technical and melodic at the same time – and with just the right amount of restraint. I’d also like to acknowledge how the keyboards were played in this song. Oleson and/or Fred Colombo played counterpoint to the rhythm guitar in a way that brings the sequencer to the fore. Not so much that it becomes a lead instrument but rather that it adds to the overall urgency of the track.
“Technology” celebrates how technological advancement puts the means of musical production into anyone’s hands and while this democratisation is to be admired, King also poses the question, “Where will it all end?” Made in an instant, and shared in an instant in a world that is media hungry. This critique of consumerism is akin to that found in Porcupine Tree’s “Fear Of A Blank Planet”.