Downes Braide Association – Suburban Ghosts (2015)


The first question that came to mind while listening to this album was “Does disco prog exist”? I’m sure some of the tracks on this album can be categorized as disco prog! All songs are created by Geoffrey Downes (Yes, Asia) and Christopher Braide, who does a lot of songwriting and producing for other well-known artists. Suburban Ghosts is the second album they made together, and it’s a wonderful album! It’s a concept album about isolation and loneliness in a small town suburbia, a subject that Christopher has experienced himself during his own childhood. You can hear certain themes and lyrics coming back from time to time in some of the songs. The album sleeve looks like it comes from the flashy eighties. The neon like colours, fonts and designs that are used make me happy.

The first song Machinery Of Fate immediately sucks you into an eighties vibe. The keyboard/synthesiser sounds and the electronic drums really drag you into the world of thirty years ago. Suburban Ghosts Part I and Part II are according to the CD one track, which is also the longest track on the album. It sounds like a modern pop song that would fit into today’s music charts. Suburban Ghosts Part III is my favourite on the album. The catchy rhythm and the chorus are contagious. Vanity is a ballad with only vocals and piano/keyboards. Number One could be a great single. The chorus makes you want to sing along. Interlude is the shortest track on the album, and is just slightly longer than a minute (a real ‘intermission’). It sounded like it could have been more than just an intermission, because there are interesting things happening. North Sea is an up tempo track because of the pushing drums, that also makes me tap my feet. One Of The Few is a calmer track, leaning towards a ballad. Time Goes Fast sounds very poppy, also because of the uplifting beat and the keyboard solo. Live Twice starts actually quite up tempo piano part, but later on it becomes more compelling, and even very trance-like. Lee Pomeroy (It Bites, Rick Wakeman) provides the bass guitar on Dreaming Of England, and Dave Gregory (XTC, Big Big Train) the splendid guitar solo. One of my favourite tracks on the album too! A melancholic one, but despite the heaviness it’s a superb track. Last song Finale is actually the same as the first song Machinery Of Fate, only instrumental. A good outro to end the album with.

This is an album that puts a smile on my face every time I listen to it. The eighties vibe and the modern techniques that are used to make this album are a perfect combination. I give it five out of five stars! An album that you can put on as background music as well. Don’t forget to wear your neon spandex leggings and use an excessive amount of hairspray while listening to this beauty!

***** Iris Hidding

  1. Machinery Of Fate (5:12)
  2. Suburban Ghosts Part I and Part II (6:45)
  3. Suburban Ghosts Part III (5:59)
  4. Vanity (4:14)
  5. Number One (4:20)
  6. Interlude (1:13)
  7. North Sea (5:14)
  8. One Of The Few (4:03)
  9. Time Goes Fast (4:05)
  10. Live Twice (3:51)
  11. Dreaming Of England (5:52)
  12. Finale (1:49)

You can also read my review on Background Magazine:

You can listen to the complete album here:

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14 thoughts on “Downes Braide Association – Suburban Ghosts (2015)

  1. My thoughts exactly Lady Ier as far as break out the spandex and hairspray lol ! But I’m on the fence with this band/collaboration. I like it then I don’t like it. True the 80’s vibe is an immediate draw to your price of admission in but then you hear drum machines and the disco comes flowing out like bad Saturday Night Fever re-runs on the movie channel. The other album they have out I’m again on the fence for the same reasons, it’s campy, well crafted but corny in spots. It’s fun and I enjoy it for what it is. Let’s see if they PROGress in the future!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Iris !

    My respects for the dynamic+eclectic keys playing of Geoff ! Not a big fan of the 80s myself I’m afraid – Psych Sixties and Eternal Seventies all the way, for me -, but I’m quite interested in the unusual tag “disco-prog” ! 😀

    I think Canterbury-related Belgian band Cos made some ’round 1978, jazz piano trippin’ on some sort of a dissident Zeuhlian disco beat if you like :

    And, oh yes, Magma ! I’ve heard this one described once as Diskobaïa, which is frankly hilarious ! :

    Get on the martial martian groove on in your Disco-Prog pants ! ~

    Liked by 1 person

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