Edison's Children - The Disturbance Fields
Edison’s Children is the side-project of Marillion bass player Pete Trewavas (who sings and plays many instruments) and Eric Blackwood (who also sings and plays even more instruments). They are also joined by Rick Armstrong (son of Neil Armstrong) on guitar and bass. Henry Rogers (Touchstone & DeeExpus) and Lisa Wetton (wife of the late John Wetton) who both play drums. This is the band’s fourth album. There are fourteen tracks on the album, but it is only one song with all the sections segueing into each other and has a running time of sixty-seven minutes. As with all the other concept albums I have reviewed, I shall be focusing on the music rather the lyrics.
The following quote from the band’s Bandcamp page explains the meaning of the album’s title and story of the album – “The Disturbance Fields are the physical manifestations that mother nature's fury can take against humans due to our mistreatment of the oceans, rainforests and overdevelopment of urban landmasses. This has resulted in dramatic climatic changes in the temperatures of the earth and the sea and is the cause of far stronger and more violent storms and destructive natural events.”
The three minute “Captain's Ledger” opens the album with the sound of the sea. The section is made of acoustic guitar and Eric’s voice. It has a wonderful pastoral feel to it.
“A Random Occurrence” continues the pastoral feel but brings in the drums and synths. There are also some bass pedals in there too. I love the main synth riff. A simple arpeggio but one that fits the section perfectly.
“Asphyxiation” is built around a bass riff and drums, but the guitars come in about half-through. This is the first song that Pete sings on.
“Captain's Refrain” is less than a minute long. It has no drums but features pinched harmonics played on guitar with a little bit of delay with Eric singing.
“The Approaching Front” features some superb fretless bass playing from Pete and some downtempo but powerful drumming in its three and a half minutes.
“Indigenous” has a very dark features very little vocals but instead is a spoken word section. It has an African vibe but some a few hints of electric guitar now and then before the drums kick in in and the sections gets heavy and almost brutal in its sound.
“The Surge” is an eight-minute hard rocker and is one of only three song sections that Lisa plays drums on playing a very hypnotic rhythm. A fantastic section with a lovely guitar solo and what may well be some slide guitar in there too. It is probably my favourite on the album.
“A Cold Gray Morning” is the second of sections that Lisa plays on. It is lighter in vibe to “The Surge” and features acoustic guitar instead of distorted guitar. There are also some wonderful synth pads which make me think of The Cure.
Five minute “Into The Dead Calm” features some lovely fingerpicking arpeggio on acoustic guitar accompanied by just Eric’s voice but there are some low octave pads and strings sounds that appear now and then. A lovely chilled out section and another highlight of the album.
“The Tempest” was released as a free download before the album was released and is one of the faster sections. There are some lead guitar parts in this that also remind me of The Cure also rhythm guitar treated with a little bit of delay. Another of the highlights of the album.
“A Random Disturbance” is built around the same synth riff as “A Random Occurrence” and could be considered a sister section but has a darker vibe to the music.
“The Confluence” is the longest section at ten minutes long. There are some passages of acoustic guitar that link together with some simple arpeggiated lead guitar mixed in with some flute and bass pedals played over a sixteen-note hi-hat rhythm. There are also some heavy riffs and some very powerful drumming. An epic section, indeed.
“Resurgence” is the third and final song that Lisa plays drums on. Built around two soaring guitar solo. There are also some vocals at the beginning, but it is mostly instrumental. The last minute is almost a reprise of “The Surge”
Album closer “Epitaph” is musically identical to “Captain's Refrain”. This section is slightly longer and closes the album with some very unusual sound effects on the synthesizer. Has mother nature won?
Edison’s Children have a unique style of songwriting. The songs can feel quite gloomy and ethereal with a hint of Goth and The Disturbance Fields is no different. I can hear influences from Marillion (obviously) and Genesis, The Beatles, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and The Cure. Lisa plays with a lot of passion on her three sections and both drummers are essential to the EC sound on the album and complement each other with Henry playing a lot heavier than Lisa does. The only problem I find is that it is difficult to know who is playing which guitar or bass part, but this is a minor gripe as the musicianship on the whole album is wonderful. Another highly recommended album from what is already a very strong year for new releases in progressive rock.