Neo-prog is a sub genre that came into power in the 80s and 90s with most of its bands evolving and progressing. The 80s neo-prog movement was more dramatic and some would say more linked to 70s prog. The next wave of neo-prog in the 90s were far more user friendly and not quite as over the top. Drifting Sun fall into that last category. After listening to the album, I was struck by how tied to the 90s neo-prog era they sounded. I found out that they were indeed from that era which would explain it.
“Trip the Life Fantastic” sounds like no time has passed from those days. Led by piano and organ with the guitar used mosting to fill in the gaps, the band write songs and always serve the song with their performance. The interesting thing about the songs is that they are broken up by instrumental passages which really breaks the flow of the album for me. Each instrumental is perfectly played but I think the album could have done with less of them. Vocally, Peter Falconer is talented and has a good voice, though the higher parts sound a bit strained at times. The backing vocals are a bit distracting at times, like on the track “The Wizard” where you can hear them but aren’t sure what they are doing, nor why they are so upfront in the mix..
“Trip the Life Fantastic” is a solid album but it could have used a few more fireworks and perhaps stronger lyrical themes. “Lady Night” is particularly sophomoric. Many 90s prog bands have moved on a bit, leaving that era of neo-prog for some of the younger bands. I think it’s great that a band that is legit and from that era is sticking to their guns to show younger bands how neo-prog is done.