Songs From the Hard Shoulder


Songs From The Hard Shoulder

2022 album by The Tangent

This is the band's 12th release for Insideout Records, and marks their 20 years as a constantly working band.

A truly grand project, the album's main body is 3 large scale pieces of 17 or more minutes each (3 sides of the vinyl edition) with one final shorter song. Early editions of the CD and all Vinyl editions also feature a 16 minute long cover version of UK's classic "In The Dead Of Night"

All three of the long tracks have entirely different characters - one being a quintessentially Tangent long format song, the next being a highly complex and multi-influenced instrumental Jazz Rock composition, and the third being a dark and emotional study of a city at night seen through the eyes of a homeless woman


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Your chance to purchase a copy of the Songs From the Hard Shoulder CD, signed by Andy Tillison. NOTE this purchase will be dispatched from the UK. "Pay The Band" option helps run this very tightly bedgeted band and helps immeasurably with future production. Pay The Band Option gives you access to the full album, plus early versions and unreleased tracks within a a few hours of ordering - this is NOT automated please be patient until we check our emails!

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"The Lady Tied To The Lamp Post"

The big songs explained:

"The Changes"

About Songs From The Hard Shoulder

Andy Tillison explains all

andy tillison by Kate Abbey 18

"Songs From the Hard Shoulder" is our twelfth album - and is released during the 20th year of our existence as a band. The lineup is as before, Myself, Luke, Jonas, Steve and Theo now indicating that we have only had one personnel change since 2014's "Spark In The Aether" that being the addition of Steve 3 and a half years ago now,.

Somewhere along the line I started referring to it in my own mind (not as a title) as "The Difficult Twelfth Album". This is a phrase normally reserved for second or third albums as a group decides where to focus on their career continuation. A twelfth album is usually just part of a long canon. Looking back over the bands who have got as far as a twelfth is interesting.

 It's an album which I see as "Three Tracks and One More" The three tracks which are essentially the album are all quite long, dense and highly compositional - some of the most structured work we have done to date, in the way Earnest, Where are They Now and Perdu Dans Paris were structured songs/compositions.

Although what follows might sound a little downbeat when discussing the songs themes, I'd like to say that this album is predominantly "UP" in tone and is laced with hope like brandy on a great Christmas Pud.

The theme of the album lyrically is a return to a concept I first used on the second album by GFDD "Lifecycle". This is to write from the viewpoint of people on the metaphorical breakdown lane watching the rest of the world rush past and feeling endangered by the speeds and weights of the passing traffic.

**"The Changes" **which opens the album was written in the thick of Lockdowns around the world. For a while nearly everyone experienced these feelings, that life was somehow passing them by. Everyone feeling isolated, uncertain, at risk, wondering who they would never see again, whether they would ever see places, people, bands, football matches, cinemas and loved ones again. The song also references itself as a catharsis, a personal way out, a way to focus any optimism I was capable of feeling and solidify that optimism in a song - a song to give me my own hope. The song uses a mini story about The Tangekanic band in Germany trying to find a hotel after a gig we didn't get paid for - after a week of rehearsal and a journey of about 900 miles as a focus. The fact we were still laughing is of crucial importance. The lyric line in this song "Gonna need a lot of love if we want net-zero hate" probably coalesces the purpose of the album into a single line.

"GPS Vultures" is an instrumental piece and some of you will have seen my single episode of how it was written. There is more to come on that, but things have been in the way since making that episode and the TRT album was a major factor. This is not a sequel to GPS Culture, although it shares some of its structures. It like a kind of "variations on" rather than any kind of continuation. It's highly influenced by Swedish artists from the 70s like Bo Hansson, Flasket Brinner - and also by my go-to influences in Canterbury Style fusion like National Health, Supersister and Egg. It's a great fun Prog/Fusion romp that is in keeping with the "Doctor Livingstone", "Andalusian Skies" and "Music Inspired by Music Inspired by The Snow Goose"

"The Lady Tied To A Lamp Post" is the piece that has been in development the longest. Originally to have been another movement of "Le Sacre Du Travail" the enormity of that project did require some trimming. It never made it off the starting blocks and has just annoyed me for years. It is a very sobering piece that returns to the theme of homelessness that I explored from a very short personal experience of that on the "Down & Out" album. The "Lady" in question was a person I encountered in Leeds on my way home from a Christmas party in 2012. Dressed in rescued council worker hi viz orange waterproofs repaired with Gaffa she was tying herself to the lamp post so that she could sleep upright without falling over. The temperature was in the low minus figures and the wind was biting like a Doberman. I had the briefest of conversations with her and only had cigarettes to give her. The song looks at the absurdity of a "Red Haired Hippy" coming up to her, then heading out of town and writing songs about it instead of doing something practical and useful. Getting this piece to actually say what I wanted it to say has been a long time coming. Although its subject matter is nowhere near as glamorous as the story of "Earnest" and his fighter planes, the tale here is given a fictitious back story about what brought her to this place, and of course is keen to point out that she is very much one of US and not one of THEM.


What the critics say about Songs From The Hard Shoulder


"Eclectic and restless in the best sense of both those words, Songs from the Hard Shoulder is a kaleidoscopic panorama caught in sound and song, thoroughbred music from a group at the peak of their powers." Richard Krueger -

"a triumphant and enthralling album mainly made up of fantastic full-length epics that will enchant countless prog-rock enthusiasts worldwide... and demonstrates the band's reckless ease in challenging every limit or preconceived idea that has been wrongly poured into music" Brian Masso -

"Extended instrumental passages are another trademark of this very British-sounding band..... .Every few seconds there is something interesting to discover, such as fine brass, flute and percussion, tasteful bass lines, atmospheric keyboards, soulful leads and much more." Jens Wilkens -

"we find the intrepid quintet surfing an avalanche of ideas that have ‘progressive’ at the core, but swing wildly and regularly between styles...... an album that covers all bases." Mike Ainscoe - At The Barrier

"THE TANGENT have a knack for devising inviting melodies and personable lyrics which draw you in from the outset and will have you returning to further untangle the sheer diversity available within each piece." Dan McHugh - Distorted Sound

"once again, THE TANGENT make large-scale songwriting seem child's play.."Songs From The Hard Shoulder" offers the best entertainment in this context and captivates even after the umpteenth run." Andreas Schiffmann -

"a cornucopia of mind-boggling musical diversity.... for a true prog connoisseur, it simply denotes a genuine prog feast, especially, when every minute counts.... This album kicks some serious ass!" Jani Lehtinen -

"ridiculously talented musicians who’re able to tackle topics of considerable social and political gravitas and make credible songs out of them... a glorious fusion of everything from Frank Zappa to jazz to prog with a healthy input of the whimsy of the Canterbury scene". Laurence Todd -

"Music has the power to lift people, after just one listen to this amazing album I was smiling again. Andy and the band could just have released their most important record yet…"Martin Hutchinson -

"...every song tightens up with melody and groove.... All said, The Tangent's Songs From The Hard Shoulder is another prog tour-de-force that will please their fans and the fans of the genre. Easily recommended." Craig Hartranft -

"Songs From the Hard Shoulder is an album with sophisticated music beyond trends and hypes. Tillison and his bandmates use their musical skills to create a touching and reflecting album"

"They are much more than Prog Rock and always have been, with fearless explorations into jazz, funk, electronic and beyond....... There's nobody else like them" Lorne Murphy - Velvet Thunder

"if you prefer your prog a bit less predictable, blended with elements of jazz, funk and the Canterbury sound, while liberally seasoned with self-effacing wit and emotional honesty, then The Tangent should be top of your menu." Kevan Furbank - The Progressive Aspect

"it’s hard come up with another band whose name so aptly defines its musical signature. For 20 years, this has been the case with Tillison and friends. And The Tangent’s latest release, Songs From the Hard Shoulder, is no exception." Nick Tate - The Prog Report

"The Tangent, provides with 'Songs From The Hard Shoulder' -an album influenced by the sounds of progressive and jazz/prog of the 70s, but with a modern and personal touch, a freedom and a musical inventiveness which remains, as usual , limitless." Gabriel Badelier - Prog Crtique (fr)

"Band leader Andy Tillison has been pairing the musical message with political and critical statements for several albums. So "Songs From The Hard Shoulder" is not for shallow minds, but agit prog in its purest form" Yan Vogel - LAUT.DE

"Throughout, "Hard Shoulder" excels at weaving a varied and eventful sequence of interlocking themes that enables a mix of precision and off-the-charts expressivness to sit side by side in a cohesive and coherent manner" Sid Smith - PROG Magazine (UK)

"The icing on the cake with The Tangent is stellar music performed by one of the most unique bands on the scene today. They really don’t sound like anyone else, even when they’re wearing their influences on their sleeves. Their sound is their own, which makes them a joy to listen to." Bryan Morey -

".. everything merges into one multi-layered whole - a mosaic of keyboard expressions, deep bass, guitars spinning between the saxophone and flute oozing madness, the rhythm of drums. .... You can forget about the whole world." Olga Walkiewicz

"It isn’t only good, it’s addictive, upbeat, interesting and exciting. Andy Tillison and the boys are a force to be reckoned with and this album tells you just that." Steve Petch - The Progmeister


Order your Copy: 

Your chance to purchase a copy of the Songs From the Hard Shoulder CD, signed by Andy Tillison. NOTE this purchase will be dispatched from the UK. "Pay The Band" option helps run this very tightly bedgeted band and helps immeasurably with future production. Pay The Band Option gives you access to the full album, plus early versions and unreleased tracks within a a few hours of ordering - this is NOT automated please be patient until we check our emails!

Your Pre-Order Options
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