[2015.08.06] Tom Hollingworth, for NARC Magazine.
Deep in the heart of the North-East last August, a new four-track EP was brought to life at the Ginger Music Company, out of the fevered mind of Chris Minnis, the sole console of Sagan Megadrive. Though live, you might see him working his nimble fingers around an acoustic guitar with a Casio keyboard in tow, on record he is fully fledged with special guests filling a spectrum of sound.
LIDO kicks off with The Quest For Coal. Minnis’ progressive tendencies are instantly laid bare with an 11/8 bluesy electric guitar riff. We are then swiftly taken to a complimentary section replete with bouncing brass. Theme and variations continue, until a spookiness is toyed with later in the track; synth wobbles over stabbing chords. Finally, a euphoric lydian lead line transports our journey back into the light and the main theme. It certainly feels like we have got closer to the coal by the end. This track also has a video full of eclectic and amusing imagery (including laughing masks and a dragon) all montaged and crudely edited together. Seek it out - It compliments the vision well.
Next up, with an opening fanfare, is a musical response to a Doom Cheat “…to Dissemble and Smoke Berserk Pack Pts 1- 3.” This instrumental chops dramatically between feels and beats. If Queen influences were not suspected previously, halfway through this track we are treated to a harmonised distorted exposition in the identifiably May-school of guitar playing.
Following on, bursting ahead of the music (with a glorious North-East accent,) is the lead vocal of the only sung song on the EP. Faces, in the Crowd jigs along with a glistening strummed acoustic guitar, supported by warm, and at times Gospel-style, backing vocals from Fiona Tobin. The dominant seventh chords rattle around until a swung bass groove takes the reigns, and steals the track away into strange synthesised sounds.
The EP concludes with the title track, and it is the most monstrous of the collection; with cacophonic instrumental harmonies and hyperactive drum patterns. It appears that Minnis’ outdoor swimming area is overpopulated with riotous attendees! As this EP concludes we are left with so much energy transferred to our ears from crashing white horses.
Each track sits between three and just-over five minutes in length (the EP itself just seventeen minutes) but with the flurry of ideas in each, each orchestrated part mixed crisply, you feel like you have ventured far, and heard many audio wonders.
Like visiting a theme park, LIDO will thrill you in the way it whisks you around, but will also draw a wry smile from your mouth as you catch a moment to observe some of its colourful aesthetic choices and references. It is bustling with fun, and Minnis does not ever let his perfectionism trick him into taking himself too seriously, and the compositions are freer for that.