Thursday, June 20, 2024

Twisted Illusion – Upstairs To Optimism

Upstairs To Optimism is the 5th studio release from Manchester band Twisted Illusion who, with little or no help from any record label or financial support, have managed to sell over 5,000 hard copy albums in around twenty countries – which has helped them to develop and sustain the fanbase which makes it worthwhile to release new music. In these times, more power to them for achieving this. But one thing’s clear and this is, despite the claim made, they’re not a prog band .. rather, they’re a band who play basic rock with a good line in twin guitar work, but little on Upstairs .. suggests they’ve any prog leanings.

On this album, their music is an intriguing mix of guitar interplay and some quite powerful performances. They pay homage to their influences, and while I’m unsure whether Styx is one of them, their harmonised opening vocals on ‘Stay Your Course’ suggests they’re extremely reminiscent of the classy vocals of Styx. ‘Tired’, a quiet ballad with its acoustic intro and good use of vocals, falls into the same category. If their vocals are tinged with Styx, their dual guitar work on ‘Spotlight and Identity’ brings Thin Lizzy to mind, and a powerful vocalist like Phil Lynott could turn these two into stage classics. ‘Totality’ was released as a single, but ‘We Tried To Make It’ has an equal claim to be a single as it’s radio friendly.

There’s no doubting the standard of musicianship inside the band, and there’s some really good playing, though it’s overdone in a couple of places. Their songs are an attempt to ‘reach out and address the subjects affecting us all at a time of social isolation,’ which even includes a song about a Playstation character! The album drops on Friday 28th April 2023.

Laurence Todd
Laurence Todd
Took early retirement after many years as a teacher in order to write books as well as about music. A long-time music obsessive, has wide and eclectic tastes but particularly likes prog rock and rock in general. Enjoys going to gigs and discovering new acts.

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1 COMMENT

  1. That review is a load of old shyte…
    Ive listened to a lot of TI and a lot of STYX (I love both). I don’t really get any STYX vibes when listening to TI. And
    Suggesting Phil Lynott’s vocals would be a better fit?

    There is no track called ‘Spotlight and Identity’. Did he even listen to the same album?

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Upstairs To Optimism is the 5th studio release from Manchester band Twisted Illusion who, with little or no help from any record label or financial support, have managed to sell over 5,000 hard copy albums in around twenty countries - which has helped them...Twisted Illusion - Upstairs To Optimism