Label : SPV/Steamhammer

Review by Tony Cannella

In 2007 the progressive/AOR rock band Touchstone, first came on the scene with this – their debut EP “Mad Hatters”, which has now been re-issued by SPV. Their melodic prog style is on vast display, with one difference from their albums that followed – this is the one and only appearance of female vocalist Liz Clayden; she was replaced by Kim Seviour following the release of “Mad Hatters”.

In the later years the female vocals has become more prominent with Touchstone. Rob Cottingham does the lion’s share of the vocal work, with only occasional vocals from Liz – mostly in a background or support capacity, like on the 8-minute “The Mad Hatters Song”. This song has a lot of nuances, twists and turns and tempo changes; it is as huge and grandiose as what was to come after. Beyond the 8-minute epic, the rest of the songs fall in the 4-6 minutes range and are all very intelligent and well crafted songs. Like on the other re-issues, “Mad Hatters” comes with two bonus tracks, live versions of “Original Sin” and “Dignity” close out this 31-minute CD. I really like Touchstone’s music but I would have to say that “Mad Hatters” is my least favorite, but it is still a worthwhile release for anyone who is just discovering the band.

Rating – 77/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Misguided Fool
  2. One Shot
  3. Hear Me
  4. The Mad Hatter’s Song
  5. Original Sin (Live)
  6. Dignity (Live)

 

Line Up

  • Liz Clayden – Vocals
  • Rob Cottingham – Vocals, Keyboards, Programming
  • Adam Hodgson – Guitars
  • Paul Moorghen – Bass
  • Simon Cook –Drums

 

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