Comedy of Errors – Time Machine (2022)


This will be a review written with a big smile on my face. Why? Because I think this is a great album that brings these sympathetic Scots back to the level of Fanfare & Fantasy (2013) and that is my favourite album from this band. All albums are very worthwhile but this album really stands out. On Spirit and House of the Mind Jim Johnston's keyboards play quite a dominant role, which means that the guitar work of Mark Spencer and Sam McCulloch had far too little exposure in the music. As  composer and lyricist Jim is of course the pivot, but a good balance between keyboards and guitar is important to me. It's simple, if I want to hear Comedy or Errors then like on Fanfare & Fantasy and now Time Machine. With Joe Cairney, the band has a fine singer with a pleasantly full and recognizable voice. There is an obvious individual style with clear references to the revival of prog in the eighties.

With five songs that together have a playing time of less than 45 minutes, it has become a fairly short album. Adding the “old” song Disobey from a live performance should disguise this a bit. Although it is a fine performance, it adds nothing to me. I can only hope for a full live album in the future. Both guitarists still play on Time Machine, but in the meantime Sam McCulloch has left the band and Mark Spencer is the only guitarist left and that's a good thing because his playing just suits me better.

As you know, I like longer songs with room for instrumental passages and so I'm in the right place with Time Machine because there are nice long tracks on it, with a leading role for the more than fifteen minutes long Wonderland. Beautiful, but more on this later. The Knight returns and Lost Demigods are both varied songs with nice uptempo parts, but certainly also the necessary solos and quiet atmospheric parts. John Fitzgerald’s bass sounds tight but quite simple and drummer Bruce Levick proves to be a more than good link in the overall sound of Comedy of Errors. Recognizable yet playful and with unpredictable breaks the tone is set and Wonderland can literally and figuratively claim the center of this album. A very bombastic opening for Comedy of Errors is the prelude to a real progepic in which everything is present that is needed for this. Atmosphere and tension dominate the song and in my opinion this is one of the best the band has ever made. And yes, the guitars play along nicely and that ensures the aforementioned balance because Johnston also gets ample opportunity to show his wonderful keyboard work. So beautiful.

Then we can relax with the instrumental and somewhat classical-sounding The Past of future Days with a clear eighties sauce. This song is in the perfect spot and is the ideal prelude to the more than twelve minutes long title piece in which all registers are pulled out once again. There is even a piece of French poetry by means of a poem by Victor Hugo. It is all a bit less heavy than Wonderland and a little less exciting, but it is certainly a worthy closingtrack of a top album that for me comes close to Fanfare & Fantasy but just not equals it.

The artwork is nice and functional but not really shocking and that is perhaps a similarity with the lyrics because they are a bit vague sometimes. That's not a bad thing, because it leaves some room for your own interpretation.

Well, it’s clear, 2022 has given us another great album and it shows that Comedy of Errors deserves the attention of every proghead in the world.