KARNATAKA Delicate Flame Of Desire (Immrama 2002)
Karnataka could perhaps be classed as one of "the new wave" of prog-rock bands, along with
the likes of Mostly Autumn. In a few years they have come along in leaps and bounds and with
recent support slots at the Classic Rock Festival things can only get bigger and better.
Fronted by the engaging Rachel Jones, the band have developed their own style, whilst nodding their collective heads
to prog masters of yesteryear: early Genesis,Marillion and Renaissance come to mind with a touch of All About Eve and Judie Tzuke in her softer mode. Their third album is also a further step along the road to musical maturity, and from the chunky gloss booklet
to the lush orchestrations, harmonies and production, this package oozes quality.
Musically, Jonathan Edwards supplies the rich synth colouring whilst Paul Davies is a talented and distinctive guitarist. Ian Jones and Gavin John Griffiths do all that is necessary in the rhythm stakes.
The band's secret weapon on all this is Anne-Marie Helder who joined
them for their prestigious Mean Fiddler gig filmed for a subsequent DVD in late-2001. She provides useful harmonies and atmospheric flute on several tracks whilst in a live situation the twin female
frontage is, for ageing males, both memorable and redolent of a former and frankly lost prog-rock golden age. It is also rather amazing that the band were barely born (individually speaking) when prog-rock was in its heyday. Mum and Dad's stash of
carefully saved Virgin bags must have been ransacked in the meantime.
If there is one minor niggle with this album: the band don't rock out enough and vary the tempo. Only on 'One Breath Away' do we get a glimpse of what might lie ahead. Davies must have breathed an audible sigh of
relief when allowed to crank up the on-loan Fender Telecaster. This minor niggle aside, a band that has the ear of Bob Harris can't go too far wrong. This new offering is going to win them some more fans, too.