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Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Trip into the Light Fantastic is a follow-up to Light Trails positively reviewed first release Chromatology (2022). Leader John Simms was guitarist/ vocalist on the legendary CLEAR BLUE SKY 1971 Vertigo album. A visit to John’s website tells you of how highly regarded John is as a guitarist and singer, having played and sang with Ginger Baker, John Entwistle and Bernie Torme, and there is even rare footage of him playing at the Marquee.

The album really kicks off on ‘Dream of the Tellurian’, permeated by an air of mystery with Maxine’s otherworldly vocals. John’s familiar warm vocals surface on ‘Transformation’ and the description on the Light Trails’ Bandcamp site of “channelling power rock through dreamy prog rock” is a pretty fair one. ‘Rendezvous in the Stars’ is a mind-blowing instrumental with top notch synth (Dave Hendry AKA Ohead) and guitar; Johns’ vocals return on ‘Together’, which is the heaviest track, with a nice quieter passage when John changes guitars. ‘Follow the River’ is just beautiful with Max’s lyrics once again making us think of spiritual rather than material, insignificant things (if only all music were like this!) The album ends with the 11-minute tour de force instrumental ‘A Time before Time’: the synth and piano providing a splendid canvas for the mystical guitar work.

Trip into the Light Fantastic seems to exist in an expanding space. Each time I listen I go deeper into it; a tonic in these troubled times where large helpings of escapism is what we all need. The ‘crossover’ aspect and ‘light and shade’ should appeal to a much wider audience- in a word ‘essential’.

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