Lee used to be in Brighton band Crystal Void,
but this is his first solo work, and what a work it is too. It
is a concept album, which attempts to tell the story of the Second
World War, using music and archive material containing speeches,
radio and Pathe news broadcasts and dialogue from old war films.
The amount of time and effort that must have gone into this is
simply staggering. Musically it goes from gentle swirling keys
to out and out hard rock. Lee is a keyboard player and he has
used other musicians to help him create the backdrop for his powerful
lyrics and images.
This is not a celebration of war, but more a
real remembrance that says that we should not forget, because
by doing that then we can all to easily let it happen again.
"Those who do not learn
are doomed to repeat it".
The album it is most reminiscent of is 'The Wall',
but I felt that it is actually more powerful than that. The guitars
are definitely louder, but it is the use of the snippets of speech
that add a certain character to the whole proceedings. That most
emotive of instruments, the sax, is used to great effect as it
cries out in pain.
Told in chronological order it goes from the
phoney war and the evacuation from Dunkirk through the Blitz and
the turning of the tide that led in turn to Operation Overlord
and eventually the return of some of the fathers. It asks how
much did the people at home really know what was going on and
whether they would have allowed their brothers, fathers and sons
to go through it all.
At times harrowing, it works both as a reminder
of what has gone before as well as being extremely enjoyable.
The album has been endorsed by The Royal British Legion, who get
a donation from every album sold, and there is a poppy attached
to each CD case. This is an album that will provoke a lot of debate
and may actually be too deep for those who want their music and
subject matter to be light-hearted. Lee has produced an album
to be rightly proud of.
Reviewed by Kevin Rowland.