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Ones that got away...Chimpan A (2006)

This is the feature where we revisit bands or albums that are worthy of attention but may well have been overlooked over the years…we also signpost the definitive CD versions and related albums worth investigating.

If you have your own neglected band/album send us a review!

Chimpan A, released in 2006, was a project featuring Rob Reed (better known for his work in the prog-rock band Magenta), and two members of country rock band The Storys: Rob Thompson (guitar) and Steve Balsamo (vocals). All were based in South Wales.

Rob Reed, Rob Thompson, Steve Balsamo

Rob Reed, Rob Thompson, Steve Balsamo

Balsamo had played the lead in Jesus Christ Superstar in the West End in the late-1990s and was subsequently signed to Sony, his debut album was released in 2002.

Chimpan A combined elements of trip-hop, rock and ambient sounds and received glowing reviews on its release being likened to Pink Floyd, Air, Zero 7 and  Moby. If anything, it's more intriguing with the use of a narrator, Tony Dallas, and the Welsh opera singer Sian Cothi on 'The Last Night On Earth'.

With guest vocals from Christina Booth (Magenta), Margo Buchanan (David Gilmour, KT Tunstall) and Sam Brown (Jools Holland), Chimpan A used the opening to 'Tubular Bells' with Mike Oldfield's permission and 'The Secret Wish' is a standout track.

Lyrically, the album deals with darker themes of love, lust and longing and it's  an altogether sumptuous package. Balsamo's vocals lift the album throughout whilst the quirky instrumentation, samples and arrangements repay repeated listens.

Probably out of its time, and released on a small label, Chimpan A could, and should, have been huge.


The Secret Wish


Text © 2008 David Randall

Don't miss:
Chimpan A (F2 Music 200608)

Don't skip:
It's Only Sin, The Secret Wish, Future Love Games

Worth investigating:
Steve Balsamo, All I Am (Sony, 2002)

Like this, get this:
Public Symphony (2006)

Further info:
Chimpan A website

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