Reviews The Tangent Le Sacre du Travail

The Tangent

Le Sacre du Travail

If there's anyone who can make the mundane interesting, it'd have to be progressive rockers The Tangent. As evidence, I cite their newest album, Le Sacre du Travail (The Rite of Work), which is a five-movement, hour-long piece of music encapsulating the variety of emotions in the typical Westerner's work day.

And it certainly succeeds at that project--bland concepts and trivial lyrics are blown up with aplomb, creating a surprisingly engaging hour of commutes, wage slaving, and television. Though the concept of aggrandizing the dull mechanism of modern life is far from original (Battlestations's first album is currently my favourite take on the genre), Le Sacre du Travail is the only album I know of that does so in a positive manner. This isn't a condemnation of ennui and meaninglessness; it's a celebration of the regular, routine things we do in our day-to-day lives, the thankless tasks for which we otherwise would have no recognition. It's a surprisingly uplifting work for a topic normally laden with doomsayers. (It's also noticeably European; how many North Americans make a point of having evening tea?)

Musically, the album is rooted in old-style progressive rock, with epic-length, piecewise, high-concept compositions placed alongside briefer, more pop-oriented tracks. The Tangent are clearly in debt to prog progenitors like Yes, but aural citations to the likes of King Crimson can be heard when they show off their love of fusion and free-form jazz, especially in the bonus track "Muffled Epiphany." (And speaking of which, what is with the live version of "Hat"? It's such a superfluous, meaningless piece, and even more so as "bonus" material.)

Are there any weak points? Sure. The music is far from original, stylistically the same as every other straight-up progressive rock band today. Actually, that's not completely true--The Tangent's music feels notably less intense, and while that can be a valid stylistic choice, in this case it saps some well-needed energy out of their performance. Most of the movements feel very strenuous and drawn out; the uncharacteristically upbeat closer "Evening TV" is the only part I find myself returning to. I suppose you could argue that the intensity is meant to mirror one's enjoyment of the particular parts of the day, but that doesn't make the music any more enjoyable to listen to (even if I do admire the dedication to the concept).

So, Le Sacre du Travail is not revolutionary, and it's certainly not The Tangent's finest release. But it's an above-average album, and a fine addition to any progressive fan's collection.

Recommended if you like: The Flower Kings, early GenesisSpock's Beard

7.0 / 10Sarah
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Leave a comment

Inside Out

2013

7.0 / 10

7.0 / 10

Share this content
Advertisement
Radio K 2
Recent reviews

Astpai

True Capacity

7.5 / 10 Astpai - True Capacity album cover

Austrian touring machine Astpai are ready to release their sixth full length album unto the world. Astpai has held a low profile recently. Their previous album Burden Calls is from 2014. Ok, ...

La Armada

Anti-Colonial Vol. 1

7.3 / 10 La Armada  - Anti-Colonial Vol. 1 album cover
200 Words Or Less

I usually lean more melodic than heavy in my daily listening. But there’s a time and place for everything, and La Armada definitely hit that craving for pure vitriolic aggression. ...

Alice In Chains

Rainier Fog

8.3 / 10 Alice In Chains - Rainier Fog album cover

It’s been 12 years since Alice In Chains reactivated with vocalist William DuVall - making his time in the band roughly twice that of Layne Staley, but the shadow left ...

x

Logo

Looking for the SPB logo? You can download it in a range of styles and colours here:

Click anywhere outside this dialog to close it, or press escape.