Title - 'Skyscraper Souls'
Artist - Downes Braide Association
For those not in the know, super-duo Geoff Downes & Chris Braide, known as the Downes Braide Association (DBA), have just released their new album Skyscraper Souls this past November 17th, 2017 through their own label X2X Records (via Cherry Red Records UK).
Both musicians are well known in this prog world, for (as I hope you would already know), Downes is the musical legend who has played keyboards for Yes, Asia, and even The Buggles. Indeed, Downes co-wrote the hits "Heat of the Moment" and "Video Killed the Radio Star".
As for Chris Braide, he is a British singer, songwriter and producer, now based in LA, who has written and produced songs for Beyonce, Lana del Rey, Paloma Faith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, David Guetta, Sia, Afrojack and Marc Almond, to name but a few.
This is their third collaboration as the Downes Braide Association and follows their critically-acclaimed releases Pictures of You (2012) and Suburban Ghosts (2015).
With new artwork from their go-to, and longstanding artist Roger Dean, this stunning new album also features guest appearances from: Marc Almond, Andy Partridge, Kate Pierson, Matthew Koma, David Longdon and Tim Bowness.
1. "Prelude" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
2. "Skyscraper Souls" (Featuring Kate Pierson)
3. "Glacier Girl" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
4. "Angel On Your Shoulder" (Featuring Matthew Koma)
5. "Tomorrow" (Featuring David Longdon)
6. "Lighthouse" (Featuring Tim Bowness)
7. "Skin Deep" (Featuring Marc Almond)
8. "Darker Times" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
9. "Finale" (Featuring Andy Partridge)
Skyscraper Souls is a more traditional progressive/classic, rock/band album than their previous material, but still manages to become grounded by some very strong pop sensibilities.
The album opens with the stoic piano ballad "Prelude", before the epic title track, "Skyscraper Souls." Running at nearly 18 minutes in length, and featuring the B-52's Kate Pierson in various choice moments, the song is magnificent from start to finish.
The stirring piano ballad "Glacier Girl" is something to behold also, and is backed by the foot-tappin' pop-tastic vibe of "Angel On Your Shoulder." The track is easily one of my personal favorites here and is just so moreish that once finished you want to hit replay; but try and avoid that as next up is another gem in the form of the medieval-influenced "Tomorrow".
The drum-backed "Lighthouse" is followed by the quietly passive, heavily stoic piano ballad "Skin Deep" featuring Soft Cell's Marc Almond. The near 8 minute, and inclusive of spoken-word moments "Darker Times" is a testament to what DBA can bring forth at, one assumes, the drop of a hat, and then the album rounds out with the minute long advisory conclusion, "Finale".
As Chris Braide himself has said about the writing process for this album, "Geoff would send me folders full of stuff, such as the magnificent piano pieces which turned into Glacier Girl and Prelude. As soon as I heard the chords I was writing lyrics like a mad man and before long the album started to materialize."
Geoff Downes adds, "The ideas themselves were in a very rough format, but with the melodies and basic harmonies. Chris started playing around with these, and often, they came back with some radical changes, but Chris was always very conscious to retain my original idea."
CD Purchase Link