Praise for 'The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day'
Yes, that's how you hunt demons if you appreciate the lively start of the album. Almost a pop start, a slight approach to jam rocker and a subtle jazzy touch. Eventually prog structures take over and there are fine guitar solos; always in the friendly major range and yes, that's how you drive away demons."Halo" also follows this recipe of the pleasant combination of harmonious vocals and relaxed, jazzy nonchalance in the guitar playing. Again and again, the powerful rearing up of the keys breaks through the silence until the track pushes forward in the track. Bass, guitars and keys act perfectly and make the piece a pleasure.
"Now That You're Gone" is a highly melodic harmony flatterer, which drifts slightly into country rock realms after also harmonic guitar playing. A nice number. The title track, on the other hand, is quite powerful, has a bit of Rush about it, which is hardly surprising given that Pod is known as the bass and vocals of the Rush tribute band Bravado. However, the voice and power of the piece are far from reminiscent of Rush. At a good eight minutes, "Welcome To One-Six-Oh" is the temporal flagship on "The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day" and makes it clear right from the start that now the Prog leads the pen. There it is, the sun-drenched clearing in the dense fir. Piano sounds cut through finely spun webs and oscillate against the light. Until clouds move over the clearing and a Gilmour guitar is soloed out of the shadows and some Beggars Opera looks through the bushes, and King Crimson is also somehow in the woods.
The two protagonists are old hands in the business. They have been making music since the 1970s. However, each for himself. Now the two multi-instrumentalists have come together and presented their debut with "The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day". And on this debut they seem to explore what is possible. In the case of "Blue Car," the duo somehow moves in the carefree ease of a mix of highbrow pop and some steely dan jazz-pop. "Smith Haven Mall" also hits this notch. It's just great how the keyboards set this ingenious basic mood and then vocals and guitar playing side with this tenor and build the piece to a floating harmony number.
"Harbour Walls" makes one think of the symphonic output of old warhorses like Barclay James Harvest or Procol Harum, while "One More Year" again exudes this carefree looseness of slightly jazzy rocking melodies. This is particularly emphasized by the acoustic guitar playing. The last track, "Rain On The Park", is a snappy ear candy that shows once again that the songwriting isn't a stepchild either. Melody, key, vocals as well as acoustic and electric guitar, breaks and hooks come directly and skilfully to the point."The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day" is a successful debut, which on the one hand shows what great musicians are at work and how much fun it is the two protagonists have in their work. On the other hand, the record offers an enormous stylistic variety in the large environment of Prog, Art Rock and, as already mentioned, very demanding Pop Rock. It will be interesting to see whether this wealth of variants will be retained, or whether Pearson Memmott Conspiracy will be more firmly committed to a possible successor. Ulli Heiser
An album that's been four and a half years in the making, The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day is The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy's first recorded offering as a band. Comprising Ian Pearson and Richard Memmott, these two South Yorkshire-born musicians are no strangers to the industry - the two multi-instrumentalists have over sixty years combined experience writing and performing music all over the country.
The two multi-instrumentalists have over sixty years combined experience
The album's key themes are dominated by changes of key and rhythm throughout the songs. This is perfectly encapsulated during the song 'Welcome To One-Six-Oh', as the first half of this eight minute track differs greatly to the second. Starting off steady with a strong keyboard focus, there's an abrupt pause midway through the track which leads into a rumbling arena rock riff which wouldn't sound out of place on a Queen record.
The musical excellence of the record is captured perfectly during 'Book Of Life', which ends with a two minute pounding drum-beat and an over-driven electric guitar that screams seventies prog. The falsetto-heavy 'Chasing Down The Demons' features wild synth eruptions and breezy melodies, which combine prog pop and art rock superbly. The counterpoint backing vocals on 'Blue Car' are incredibly comforting - something which could have been utilised to greater effect throughout the record. Pearson and Memmott's prowess as musicians and their undeniable flair is evident throughout the album.
These two sonic shifters have produced something that sounds now and then too.This sweet, pastoral whimsy and quintessential Englishness is something we loved in the early eighties and enjoy again now, and that’s a wonderful thing.
That pastoral and early eighties influence can be heard in the bass plucking and old-style synths of the smooth ‘Chasing Down The Demons’ which mixes with a sweet, simple melody and a clear, soaring guitar solo that has Steve Howe touches. The bouncy title track doesn’t give you time to think about more than the sweetness, but the fuzzy blues riff and organ butt up against plaintive the (sic) XTC-like vocals in ‘Book Of Life’ beautifully.
They do the UK Prog pastoral too in ‘Halo’, allowing the guitar to calmly paint pictures, and if they meander sometimes and seem a little anodyne (‘Smith Haven Mall’ doesn’t really do anything), the lovely, smudgy electric piano enlivening ‘Now That You’re Gone’ and the busked feel of ‘One More Year’ are worth the admission alone.
This is lovely, whimsical, personal and as sweet as a kiss from a first love. If you listen to this soundtrack, your day will be far from ordinary.
Some Yorkshire prog now. Pod Pearson and Rich Memmott have been involved in music and bands for decades now, ploughing different fields until they found themselves in the same band. Realising they had a lot in common they set about making some melodic prog rock they way they wanted to. This is the result and it’s pretty good.
Their basic thing is seventies styled melodic prog but with a lot of pop, some splendid synths and even the odd Canterbury moment. When it all comes together it’s delicious as on the Caravan like ballad “Now That You’re Gone”, my absolute favourite on the record. Musically, they rarely put a foot wrong. However I’m not a huge fan of the vocals which are split between the two of them. Most are performed by Memmott which is odd considering Pearson has a gig with a Rush tribute band. I mean, really. Which means I’m more drawn to his songs (where he sounds more Randy Jackson than Geddy Lee).
But you can forgive a lot especially when the gorgeous guitar lines start running through the songs. The proggiest of all the tunes is ” Welcome To One-Six-Oh” which takes it’s time with plenty of time changes to satisfy the most ardent progster. They’re never afraid to tinker with the basic template so you’re just as likely to hear a funky bass line as you are a Hackett like guitar noodle. It’s certainly an interesting release and it’s always good to hear talented musicians going where their heart wants them to.
Ian “Pod” Pearson (guitars, bass, voice, keyboards, drum programming) and Richard “Rich” Memmott (bass, guitars, voice, keyboards, banjo, mandolin) are two Sheffield-based multi instrumentalists, with a love of rock, classic pop, progressive, symphonic and jazz. Now that they have “grown up” (they describe this themselves as being “in their Autumn years”), they finally took the step to commit their music to tape. They formed The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy (PMC for short) in 2015, after decades of playing in cover bands and writing original music both together and separately. Some of their previous bands include acts such as the Prog Doctors, Psi Phi, Zirk Dextron and the Rush tribute band Bravado. They debuted with an EP in 2016, and now there is a new full-length album, The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day, which was released in February 2020. When performing live, the duo is assisted by drummer and percussionist Dean Cousins (of Bravado, Tin Man, Stafford Galli).
Let's take a look (or rather, listen) to the album. We are greeted early on by widdly keys (which neo proggies will love). Despite the gloomy title, Chasing Down The Demons, the tone is upbeat with cheerful vocals. There are some nice guitar and keyboard solos in the second half. Unsure about references to be honest... I hear a bit of Yes in there, but also Jadis and other neo prog groups.
Halo has a gentle start, then there is this riffy part building up power which then evolves into a dreamy jazzy bit, this ends up in another powerful section with widdly keys in the background. Nice variation.
Now That You're Gone has a folky, country tinge. A really mellow song contrasting to the subsequent title track with a driving pace. I hear a bit of Rush in the guitar, which shouldn't be surprising regarding the background of the musicians.
Welcome To One-Six-Oh is the album's longest track and also my favourite. Wonderful lush and soaring synths. There is a dreamy melody line and then some heavy guitar halfway thru the piece with threatening chords. This then flows into a superb David Gilmour-like guitar solo.
Book Of Life is a solid rocker, opening with bluesy riffs and roaring organ. The vocals are lighter and provide a nice contrast to the heavier stuff going on. The track has this cool bass solo halfway through before a guitar solo takes it away. This solo would have done well with Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers. Despite the non-progginess, this is an awfully enjoyable track. Actually, the second half is rather prog in an early 1970s sense.
The poppy Blue Car brings us back to more light-hearted realms, while Smith Haven Mall is very melodic. This song is one of the most beautiful on the CD, and with a lot of depth.
Harbour Walls is a wonderful symphonic piece with lush keyboards, a dreamy bass and a fabulous wandering guitar line that again reminds of David Gilmour. Another favourite from this disc.
One More Year opens with acoustic guitar. It is light-hearted and upbeat with a rhythm that makes you tap your feet. Also the closer of the ordinary album, Rain On The Park, is another very poppy and accessible song.
Overall, this was a very entertaining debut. Fine melodic prog with a potential to cross over into wider audience.
***+ Carsten (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
Guitarist Pod Pearson and bassist Richard Memmott had both been making music (separately) since the 1970’s. Friends on the Sheffield music scene for many moons the pair played in local band Rodger together before deciding to hook up as THE PEARSON MEMMOTT CONSPIRACY. The fruits of their labour is the 11 track ‘THE SOUNDTRACK TO AN ORDINARY DAY’ an album that takes the listener on a musical trip from all out prog epics to pop rocks nugget...so I suggest you jump aboard!
Opening salvo ‘Chasing Down The Demons’ reminds me a little of early Marillion and explodes with a bright effervescence. Like a rainbow signalling the end of a storm it’s a track that bursts into life with a myriad of guitar solos sprouting from all directions. ‘Halo’ follows and takes a different route with some cool harmonies underpinned by swirling synths. Plenty of nifty time changes keep the listener on their toes ensuring the song succinctly shape shifts as snake like guitar solos slither surreptitiously throughout. Not quite a power ballad but the whimsical ‘Now That You’re Gone’ provides a nice change of pace before we’re into the lively title track; ‘The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day’. It’s a song that compresses an insane number of suites into a short period of time while still retaining a solid structure and sense of melody.
Cinematic in its scope ‘Welcome To The One-Six-Oh’ is a mini opera in its own right. Incorporating some groovy sound effects ‘Welcome...’ swirls and rotates and repositions the listener leaving them dazed and confused within its musical maze. Heavy on the distortion pedal and with a favourable amount of Hammond organ ‘Book Of Life’ is a perfect slab of 70’s style rock complete with meaty solo of which Humble Pie would be proud. ‘Blue Car’ follows and powers forward at a steady pace before the atmospheric ‘Smith Haven Mall’ evokes images of rain sodden street in a neon soaked metropolis. ‘Harbour Walls’ and connects to its predecessor like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle.
The penultimate ‘One More Year’ is a quirky number The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy do so well. Quintessentially English in it’s dark humour and sense of irony and undeniably TPMC. ‘Rain On The Park’ is a fitting closer and pulls all the bands influences together in a cohesive whole: Rush jamming with Pink Floyd while Toto and Genesis wait in the wings and as it fads to a conclusion it’s with an air of sadness...but press ‘play’ again to relive ‘A Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day’
Pod Pearson et Rich Memmott sont deux multi-instrumentistes basés à Sheffield, avec un amour du rock, de la pop classique, du progressif, du rock symphonique et bon, même un peu de jazz. Ils ont finalement enregistré leur musique d’abord sur l’EP « Extended Play » sorti en 2016 et nous présentent aujourd’hui « The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day ».
Avec une ample palette d’influences The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy trace un chemin tortueux où il est difficile de se repérer. « Chasing Down The Demons » ouvre l’album d’une manière parfaite sur un synthé enjôleur dans une veine typiquement prog rock léger, style Alan Parson, mais avec un je ne sais quoi de groove qui vient pimenter la composition. Le deuxième titre « Halo » présente un versant jazzy rempli de rythmes chaloupés, mélangeant guitares, percussions et claviers pour aboutir à un résultat qui prend une physionomie plus enlevée dans le final où l’orgue domine.
Éclectisme, vous avez dit éclectisme, « The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day » n’en manque pas, il nous entraîne dans un maelstrom de titres multi-genres. Piochés de-ci de-là dans la suite de l’opus : La ballade « Now That You’re Gone », style Eagles, c’est soft mais pas trop sirupeux, dans le genre il y a mieux, mais ne boudons pas notre plaisir. Une belle entrée en matière prog pour le titre éponyme « The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day » le solo de guitare est top, mais il y a un je ne sais quoi dans le chant qui ne va pas. La colonne vertébrale de l’opus, le long titre « Welcome To One-Six-Oh » (8 :07 minutes), assemble passages prog, jazzy et riffs puissants. Il enchaîne des thèmes aux mélodies lumineuses et déroule un solo de synthé de toute beauté. Pour finir « Rain On The Park », un rock plutôt classique, très accrocheur, notamment grâce à la guitare qui prend une place plus importante que sur les autres titres.
Bon, le bilan, un « The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day » qui fait le yo-yo entre le très bon, le bon et le moins bon. Trop de variété dans les genres nuit à l’homogénéité de l’album, l’auditeur n’a pas le temps de s’ancrer dans les atmosphères développées qu’il faut passer à autre chose. C’est d’autant plus dommageable que certains titres valent vraiment le détour, un peu plus de cohésion aurait été salvateur !
Pod Pearson and Rich Memmott are two Sheffield-based multi-instrumentalists, with a love of rock, classic pop, progressive, symphonic rock and hey, even a little jazz. They finally recorded their music first on the EP "Extended Play" released in 2016 and today present "The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day". With a wide palette of influences The Pearson Memmott Conspiracy traces a winding path where it is difficult to navigate. "Chasing Down The Demons" opens the album in a perfect way on a flirtatious synth in a typical light prog rock vein, Alan Parson style, but with a je ne sais quoi of groove that spices up the composition. The second track "Halo" presents a jazzy side filled with swaying rhythms, mixing guitars, percussions and keyboards to achieve a result which takes on a more spirited physiognomy in the finale where the organ dominates. Eclecticism, you said eclecticism, "The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day" is not lacking, it takes us into a maelstrom of multi-genre titles. Drawn here and there in the rest of the opus: The ballad "Now That You're Gone", Eagles style, it's soft but not too syrupy, in the genre there are better, but let's not sulk our pleasure. A nice prog entry for the eponymous track "The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day" the guitar solo is great, but there is a je ne sais quoi in the vocals that is wrong. The backbone of the opus, the long track "Welcome To One-Six-Oh" (8:07 minutes), brings together prog passages, jazzy and powerful riffs. He connects themes with luminous melodies and unfolds a beautiful synth solo. To finish “Rain On The Park”, a rather classic rock, very catchy, in particular thanks to the guitar which takes a more important place than on the other titles. Well, the results, a "The Soundtrack To An Ordinary Day" which yo-yo between the very good, the good and the less good. Too much variety in genres detracts from the consistency of the album, the listener does not have time to anchor himself in the developed atmospheres which must be moved on. This is all the more damaging as some titles are really worth a look, a little more cohesion would have been helpful!
EDITOR'S NOTE - in other words, although this is progressive music, there shouldn't be a variety of moods and styles. Eh?