IT has it’s beginnings back in 1994 and through the years it’s evolved. To date, there’s 4 studio albums, the last one Departure, was released in 2009. IT is a true “transatlantic” band with members in Canada and the UK. Currently the band consists of Nick Jackson (lead vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, mastermind), Andy Rowberry (lead guitar), Rob Archibald (keyboards), James Dunn (bass) and Will Chism (drums).
The subject matter on the album has commentary on religion, politics, current social issues and some personal stuff of leader Nick Jackson. The main theme, according to Nick, was living through the 8 years of the Bush administration. Now Nick isn’t a citizen of the USA but those 8 years affected the world. I won’t get into any more so I’ll let the music do the talking.
From the opening controversial titled “God Is Dead” (3:25) you know you’re in for a wild ride. The chorus keeps ringing in my head long after the song is over. There’s a Pink Floyd overall vibe, with the lyrics coming straight out of the Roger Waters cynical handbook. The title track, “Departure” (4:18) is a fluid sound track that has a Pink Floyd meets Porcupine Tree vibe.
“Killing Me” (3:43) is a very personal song if you pay close attention. It’s also close to the Signify era Porcupine Tree without being a clone. I think it’s tighter in the composition. It’s a very catchy prog/pop song as well. This is one of my favorites off the album. There’s also a music video for this song on the DVD.
“Car Crash” (4:41) is a melodic rocker which come from a personal song not as cynical sounding. “Fighting For Freedom” (6:12) is the longest song on the album. It has a bluesy Cajun beginning to it. Lyrically it’s has religion as a theme. It’s also one of the more bluesy song on the album. There’s some spoken word along with the vocals. Towards the end of the song, has a heavy rocking bit with a dreamy orchestral backing.
“Burn Pt.1”(3:38) has a bluegrass fused with a metallic vibe to it. There’s still some lyrics with religion in it. “Burn Pt.2” (3:16) is the more instrumental with spoken word which sounds a lot like Bush speaking. This is the most cynical song on the album. I feel this is a song that Roger Waters would have loved to have done but didn’t. The last part of the song has a very venomous lyrics that need to be heard rather than writing about it.
“Safe” (5:07) is very much like what Porcupine Tree would have done on their last few albums. It has a fluid feel of The Sky Moves Sideways with the metallic crunch of Deadwing.
“Standback Pt.1” (3:53) and “Standback Pt.2” (2:26) remind me of songs on Signify, similar in presentation to “Phase One & Two”.
Closing off the album, perfectly in my opinion, is “Disappear” (5:58), which starts off in a melodic fashion but after some spoken word bits around the halfway point of the song it escalates into a metallic frenzy. The remainder of the song is a blend of clean and dirty guitar bits.
Disc Two: DVD:
On the second disc, a DVD, there’s a really cool music video of “Killing Me” and a up close 30 minute live recording from August 31st, 2007 - Live At Algoma University (Intro, “Killing Me”, “Car Crash”, “Underfire“, band introductions, “Standback Pt. & 2“). The line-up here is Nick Jackson (vocals, guitars), Andrew Rowberry (guitars), Brian Holmes (keyboards), Craig West (bass, vocals) and Alex Inglis (Drums).
The lineup on Trauma 3 song EP (“Underfire”, “Time And Place” * and “Taking On Sand” *) consists of Nick Jackson (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Craig West (Bass, guitar, programming, vocals*), Andy Jackson (Bass, guitar), Rupert Grenall & Rob Archibald (keyboards), Bryan Belleau (Guitar on "Underfire") and Ed Young (drums).
There’s also a very informative history of the band called Itstory that is well worth the time (30 minutes) invested to learn more about the band.
In closing, this band called IT should be on every prog fan’s vocabulary. The fourth album, Departure, is such an important album (in hindsight) that deserves the spotlight just as much as any other release from 2009 and even 2010. Highly recommended is such an obvious assessment. BUY NOW!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on January 31st, 2011