One Track Mind: Lifesigns, “Telephone” from Lifesigns (2013)

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The soon-to-be-released Lifesigns single “Telephone” is perhaps the best example of how the group’s previous lives in prog and pop can coalesce into a listenable, yet still challenging, amalgam of both.

There is, in the song’s portent-filled intro, a turbulent Chapman Stick — but then “Telephone” opens up into a stirring, sun-streaked second verse. Neo-prog in the very best sense of the word, Lifesigns manages something that few others — save for Marillion — can credibly and consistently do: Compose inventive, often episodic, songs that boast ear-wormy hooks.

“Telephone,” due out on April 22, 2013 via Cherry Red, is part of a self-titled album from keyboardist John Young (John Wetton, the Scorpions), bassist Nick Beggs (Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett, Kajagoogoo) and drummer Frosty Beedle (Cutting Crew), who are joined by guests like Hackett, King Crimson’s Jakko Jakszyk and Thijs Van Leer (Focus).

Young started the Lifesigns project some five years ago with only engineer Steve Rispin (Asia, Carl Palmer, Uriah Heep) as a collaborator. Over time, Beggs and Beedle came on board, and the album began to take shape. That considered approach has led to a layered song cycle that only grows more intriguing over repeated listens — but, as with the utterly addictive ear-worm “Telephone,” never succumbs to prog’s occasional tendency toward the impenetrable.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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