Review by Geoff Penn
Marco Royes, cover concept
Alan Royes is primarily an English businessman, who in his spare time has a real passion for rock music and playing the electric guitar together with various keyboard accompaniments. But rather than just being satisfied with playing and composing his own music in situ he takes his hobby a step further, that is by hiring a private recording studio together with backing musicians, vocalists and engineering crew to record a selection of his own favourite but recent compositions. This altogether is a fairly lengthy procedure not only in introducing the new material to all supporting artists but also in honing the songs in order to create an impressive end product. As an indication of their faith in Alan’s ability these professional musicians have regularly attended these gatherings to lend their support on a yearly basis, a series of recording sessions funded totally by Alan.
So for myself and a great number of other people, our musical year would just not be the same without Alan’s annual EP arriving at our doorstep for comment. Such generosity deserves more than a curt nod, and so a little more web-wide acknowledgement is far more deserved, hence my post here on ‘House of Prog Radio’.
Alan’s end of 2020 offering is a 30-minute six-track project covering a mixture of hard rock, pop-rock and country flavoured rock all featuring Alan’s deft guitar work together with some all-around instrumental and vocal support including Alan’s son Luca on drums for two of the tracks.
1) Long Time Coming – A total saturation of heavy riffing guitar interposed with trumpet. A real burner of a track with a historical retrospective regarding the coming of rock music.
Vocals & Handclaps Maylene / Guitars & Handclaps – Alan / Drums – Luca/ Bass – Tony/ Trumpet – Matt E. / Saxophone – Ellie./ Percussion – Simon.
2) Gallows – A song with an interesting call and response theme that switches through several equally interesting musical phases mixing different elements of acoustic rock and even splattering’s of medieval folk. A solemn procession of piano chords, whistling synthes and military drum introduces into a wealth of dramatic heavier guitar.
Vocals – Maylene & Andy/ Guitars, Organ & 1st verse Vocal Alan/ Drums – Pete. /Bass – Tony/ Piano & Synthesiser – Chris.
3) One of Two –A series of driving bass lines to form the engine room of this swinging dance number and keyboard generated melodic steel drum effects create a distinctly romantic holiday feel.
Vocals & Bass – Matt S/ Guitars & Keyboards Alan/ Drums – Luca.
4) The Mirror Doesn’t Lie. (4.45). A furious uptime number with superb guitar-driven interludes. Powerful vocals and nice harmonies.
Vocals – Matt S/ Guitars – Alan/ Drums – Pete/ Bass – Tony/ Keyboards – Chris/ Backing vocals – Maylene.
5) The Haunting. (10.05) A multipart epic track switching between various soundscapes created by an acoustic fingerpicking guitar opening with haunting keyboards (as per the title) then slightly discordant guitar merging into a heavier guitar style within a windswept setting before being absorbed into an Eastern style atmospheric soundscape. A track immersed with great guitar fingerwork and effects trickery and the feeling of light and shade
Guitars, Keyboards & Voice Alan/ Drums – Pete/ Bass-Tony.
6) Love, To You. (2.02). A nice sing-along ballad with country style pedal steel guitar.
Summary: An interesting and very enjoyable project showcasing the professionalism and musical dexterity of Alan Royes both on guitar and keyboards together with his superb compositional skills. A true labour of love deserving all the well-deserved plaudits one can extend to a superb musician realizing his dream and brightening our world
Alan gives express thanks to:
All who have encouraged me in the past?
All the great players and vocalists who have helped me make this EP special (to me).
Simon James, for his patience, ideas, and the great sound, from his base at Homeward Studios, Hove.
Marco Royes, for the cover concept.
Special thanks to Kim, for her fun, love, and constant Positivity