PURSER / DEVERILL – Square One (2018)
“Square One” is the debut album from PURSER / DEVERILL, a British rock project pairing former Tygers Of Pan Tang members Fred Purser and Jon Deverill.
An album that has been over 30 years in the making because both musicians keep in touch with the promise to create something together, but only materialized this year.
First, for those who think that “Square One” will be something like ’80s Tygers Of Pan Tang, can stop to hope at once. Purser / Deverill definitely has an ’80s feeling, yet musically is inspired by proggy melodic styles akin Saga, Asia, GTR, World Trade and even Rush circa 1982-84.
And what a stunning album it is.
“Square One” is powerhouse of proggy melodic rock, sophisticated though highly accessible, effortlessly switching from flourishes of grandeur to balls-out pumping rock.
Title track is a good introduction, opening with a wave of synth switching gear under a drum attack by guest (and friend) Jeff Armstrong and solid guitar layers.
Jon Deverill is in fine voice in front of the collage of sound constructed by multi-instrumentalist Fred Purser, whose arrangements and playing are delivered with gusto.
“Hypnotise” starts with a quality of Moving Pictures-era Rush, defined by a memorable, sing-along chorus, while the solo by Purser is reminiscent of David Gilmour, dominating and crying but never overwhelming the overall sound.
On “Travel The World” Purser is in progressive mode with hints of World Trade lush, polished sound, whereas “Beat Them Join Them” is stuck in an Eighties time-warp, with a pulsing drum, synth and bass intro, the song chugs along with the reflective lyrics asking question after question until the ultimate chorus of giving in and acceptance begins; “When are you going to come to your senses? When are you going to earn a wage?”
A twisting cosmic-blues erupts in “Make It True”, a song which glides along the clouds effortlessly demonstrating the command and passion Purser has for his guitar work, in a turnaround a cabaret-style piano opens “Darkest Cloud”, the song builds slowly with intensity as all instruments come into the fold, the melody-heavy track is one of the more interesting moments on the album.
The fantastic cavalcade of sound closing the album “Apocalypse Then” is a breathtaking instrumental, all the while a mesh of synth tones quell all around the listener, firing colors of sound in every direction as it climaxes to the sound of rain and thunder. Think Saga meets Asia.
Coming out of nowhere, Purser / Deverill’s “Square One” is one of the surprises of the year, not only for its quality but also for being one of the few delivering this kind of proggy melodic rock nowadays.
There’s not a weak track on this disc, the flow of the album is flawless built to be absorbed by the listener. You cannot help wondering how these will translate on a live stage which is something we will hopefully see over the coming year.
01 – Square One
02 – Hypnotise
03 – Travel The World
04 – Beat Them? Join Them?
05 – Make It True
06 – With You
07 – Factor X
08 – Captured In Freefall / Lost In Space
09 – Darkest Cloud
10 – Apocalypse Then
Jon Deverill – Vocals
Fred Purser – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Jeff Armstrong – Drums, Percussion
BUY IT !