Soft Machine Legacy: Burden of Proof
JOHN ETHERIDGE (electric guitar); ROY BABBINGTON (bass guitar); JOHN MARSHALL (drums and percussion); THEO TRAVIS (tenor sax, flute, Fender Rhodes piano)
Soft Machine Legacy makes their most powerful statement to date, delivering an album of epic proportions and their first studio output since 2007's Steam. Infectious grooves, undeniably hip vibes and sizzling performances dominate the outing, as the veteran progressive music masters continue to break new ground and offer listeners yet more previously-unseen facets of their dynamic musical persona.
Featuring some intriguingly-inviting new writing, the album is a breath of fresh air for progressive music and a bold furtherance of the true adventurous essence that is the legacy of the great Soft Machine. It doesn't just offer the suggestion of venturing through ground previously untried -- by any of the Soft Machine incarnations -- it levels everything in its path on the way!
Broad in its scope and ambition, but sensitive, probing and playful in its delivery, Burden of Proof provides more than ample evidence that the legends remain at the top of their game, both individually and collectively. The group's two lead voices -- guitarist John Etheridge and saxophonist Theo Travis -- are in exceptionally fine form, whether gracefully enunciating a melody line in the pocket or dancing madly on the fringe.
Also evident is the rock-solid anchoring of drummer John Marshall and bassist Roy Babbington, who keep proceedings tight and flowing throughout. Whether tip-toeing or stampeding, Soft Machine Legacy are as unified, focused and finely-honed as they've ever been -- delivering their crispest, most sparkling new material to date, in an undeniably inspired, unrelenting session. This is a fabulous, vital effort: a potent, impacting album encompassing the great spirit and aggressive pioneering approach championed by their namesake predecessors. For all fans of progressive music, the Canterbury scene, and the Softs, this superlative studio session is immediately 'essential' -- and easily the Legacy's finest, most high-reaching outing.