British prog bands from its heyday era of the early to mid-’70s were known to often call upon music and literary classics like Mozart or, say poet Lord Byron. Sometimes such inspiration was exactly that, and produced some excellent music, in other cases, it brought some awkward, often pompous, and pretentious music.
Has something changed these days in that respect? Not really. You can find both types of music with ease, particularly if they involve running music cycles and calling upon such classics as William Shakespeare.
And that is exactly where London, UK-based duo High Chair (Billy Surgeoner and Rokiah Yaman) and their latest album Hey Mountain Hey come in. You see, the album is the third in the duo’s trilogy based on Shakespeare’s play Tempest. The first was The Butter Thief (2018), and the second, The Dharma and the Drama (2019).
So which side of the coin do the High Chair belong on? The fast tempo, intricate changes of the opening track “StarGazer” might lead you to that over-complicated, pretentious side, but only after a minute or so. At that point, the duo starts switching the gear and turns the album into more of a mix of melodic prog, psych, space rock, and even pop.
There, tracks like the excellent “Tree and Leaf” carry the album out of any usual prog-rock traps and make it stand on its own, part of a trilogy or not. It does make you wish to search out the other two parts, at least to make sure they are as good as this album.
High Chair – ‘Hey Mountain Hey’ Reaction
High Chair's latest entry in their series based on Shakespeare’s 'Tempest' play delivers interesting prog-rock that can suit even those listeners that only have a cursory acquaintance with the genre.