Prog Rock from the south of England? Well I may actually be living within a short distance of the band, but I’ve never heard of JADIS before. Stranger still, even after having listened to “Photoplay” several times the opener keeps reminding me of SEAL… but anyway, after having done a bit of research, I discover that these Brits have in fact had quite a career behind my back – having supported IQ the year I was born!
So to make my stance clear, I have absolutely no other album by which to compare this new release to, so I’ll do my best rating it as a stand alone record. What we have here I would only loosely describe as Progressive Rock, but it’s more interesting than regular Rock and showcases the evolution of late 80s/early 90s Prog in much the same way as similar bands like THRESHOLD have. This change in style seems to have taken out much of the odd time signatures and weird keyboard sounds and given instead, easy listening, feel-good songs with fairly simple song structures and some catchy hooks. So I can acknowledge, that this type of band is probably not exactly lapped up by my particular age group, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.
Back to the age of the band again and considering JADIS has undergone a fair few line-up changes in its time, to me the band does seem to have a good amount of vitality about them. The drumming is very tight and the guitar-playing very smooth (in a PINK FLOYD kind of way), the bass can be heard which is refreshing, the keyboard player is quite justified in being a member of the band without ruining the sound and the vocalist has some feeling in his voice, although a bit more power couldn’t hurt. No real gripes here, except that nothing really blows me away. And that’s not for lack of looking for standout tracks – “There’s A Light” is a good opening track, with a great guitar lead line and catchy enough melodies and “Standing Still” is quite satisfying too, but these are the songs which speak to me most and they’re still not mind-blowing or anything.
So I’d have to say I have some pretty mixed feelings about “Photoplay”. I couldn’t justify giving it a really high rating, but it’s not bad by any means and so it rests comfortably above the mediocre mark. As said before I have no previous releases to compare, so I could imagine fans of the band enjoying this easygoing Prog album. (Online June 24, 2006)