Forest Field - Angels?

(CD 2015, 56:47, Rock Company VRCCD102015)

The tracks:
  1- Broken Wings(4:45)
  2- Angels(5:08)
  3- Left At Cloud 9(2:40)
  4- It Looks Like Rain(6:20)
  5- Angel With A Dirty Face(5:24)
  6- Message For A Messenger(6:20)
  7- The Zoo(6:17)
  8- Lovers Lane(4:20)
  9- Change Me(5:32)
10- In Excelsis(5:22)
11- Spot On The Sun(4:39)

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After two albums: Pioneers Of The Future (2013, see review) and Onwards And Upwards (2014, see review) Peter Cox returns with his third full length Forest Field album. On Angels? he limited his guest musicians to just vocalist Phil Vincent, who was also present on the previous two albums.

Where I had my doubts when I listened to and reviewed both previous albums, I now have to credit Peter for focussing on the rock element, the compositions have an extra crunch, mainly because of the overly present guitar solos and melodies that Angels? holds. Listen to his guitar solos on the instrumental In Excelsis and you hear he really has the skills and knowhow to pull off some fine guitar work. Another instrumental that focusses on the guitar is Lovers Lane, here Peter backs himself up with some fine keyboards which do add something to the song. The third fully instrumental piece is the opener Broken Wings; piano driven and filled with theatrical keyboard parts, but there is a very weird part where the speed of the song changes to the up-tempo guitar solo, just a few seconds, but it seems to bother me. Two compositions are instrumental in the basics, but have spherical vocals sounds, produced by Peter Cox himself; Left At Cloud 9, an acoustically driven song that should be played at the end of the year, when people put trees in their houses. The other is Message For A Messenger, a bit more powerful then the previously mentioned one, nicely building up the atmosphere. What remains are the vocal tracks, where Phil Vincent joins Peter. To be fair, I guess I never will be a fan of his voice, but on the more classic rock compositions that are presented on Angels? his raspy voice does fit better than what I was used to when I listened to the previous albums. It Looks Like Rain is a fine song with fine solos and The Zoo is another one I do like very much. The vocal tracks all have a late eighties LA rock atmosphere, pretty straight forward songs, rough and focussing on guitar riffs and Phil's voice, the occasional keyboard nicely spices the songs up.

With number three; Angels? Forest Field has made progression, although the compositions with vocals and the ones that are instrumental differ in style, the whole picture starts to go in the right direction. Peter Cox is a fine guitar player, but he sounds average on the other instruments, perhaps some help from a real drummer and bass player could spice up the songs next time. For now I am happy with the chosen path.

***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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