RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Downes Braide Association (DBA) – Skyscraper Souls
X2X Records

Rating: B

Geoff Downes, most famous for his role as the keyboard player in Asia, and next most famous for being the keyboard player in Yes, and next most famous for being on the first MTV video ever broadcast, has teamed up, once again, with Chris Braide for a new progressive rock album titled Skyscraper Souls. 

Whew…that sentence was about as long as the opening title track on the album! Well…not really as that song clocks in at over 18 minutes!

Wow…how cool is it that real prog rock is still being made in 2017! 

Calm down nerds!

I know there are tons of good progressive rock bands in this day and age. The thing is nobody has ever heard of them.

Oh shoot…now I am going to be flooded with emails telling me of their favorite unknown prog band. Or worse yet…bands will start sending me their demos!

Look…I’m not trying to learn about new prog bands people. I just want the readers who don’t worship at the altar of Close to the Edge to learn that there is a damn fine new prog album featuring someone they have heard of…in this case that dude who is in Asia/Yes! 

Geez, this is a tough crowd.

I digress…

Downes and Braid have done this a couple of times before. They released Pictures of You in 2012 and Suburban Ghosts in 2015. Still…this one…the new one…is the best of the bunch, in my humble opinion.

The reason for that accolade is that the two men have made a traditional progressive album that dips its toe into the world of classic rock. That means it is more gentle and likely to attract the ears of both the hardcore Yes type fans and the ones that only play Fragile few times a year. Plus…Roger Dean created the cover art. That means it must be a really cool proggy album!  

All of the songs are well-written and keyboard heavy affairs. The title track, the really long song I eluded to earlier, is the best of the bunch. It even features an eerie guest spot by Kate Pierson from the B52s.  

Elsewhere…think John Wetton meets early Alan Parsons meets Pink Floyd meets Geoff Downes. You get the idea… 

It must be mentioned that Geoff really shines on this outing. His counterpart is a solid vocalist and good songwriter but even he would say Downes is something special.  

Let’s just throw this out there so people get where this album review is going…

Fans of Saxon will likely not get this album. But anyone who loves Asia, Yes, ELP, Yes and the many other famous progressive bands are likely to really enjoy it. 

 It must be said, with a wry smile, that the irony that Downes has written an 18-minute masterpiece after being slagged for his 3-4 minute pop/pog songs in Asia does not go unnoticed.

There will be no Geoff is a Pop Tart complaints on this puppy!

If Downes keeps this up his next band may be called The Downes Rebellion. I hope he is no hurry for that however, as this one is just starting to come alive.

Buy this one if you’re a fan of old school progressive rock.  You will not be disappointed. 

Track list as follows:
Prelude (ft Andy Partridge – XTC)
Skyscraper Souls (ft Kate Pierson – B52s)
Glacier Girl (ft Andy Partridge)
Angel On Your Shoulder (ft Matthew Koma)
Tomorrow (ft David Longdon – Big Big Train)
Lighthouse (ft Tim Bowness)
Skin Deep (ft Marc Almond)
Darker Times (ft Andy Partrige)

By Jeb “Only Time Will Tell” Wright