Prog and soft rock fans will feel at 'home' with this one

Magenta have been chipping away at the international rock scene for five years now; with two studio albums, a double live album, two singles and a dvd under their belt, 'Home' marks the group's third long-player and once again sees duo Rob Reed and Christina Booth (who had appeared together previously as pop group Trippa in the late nineties) fronting the project, with the lyrical help from Reed's brother Chris, and a host of talented musicians from their native Wales.

Although they developed a live show in 2003, Magenta began as a studio-only project with their first album, 'Reflections', and in some ways, the effects of their studio-only beginnings still seem to be present in 'Home' and heard in the careful planning of its huge songs and intricate patterning. 'Home' also continues the use of the concept-album style that Magenta have favoured with their previous albums; while 'Reflections' and 'Seven' discussed issues of faith and the seven deadly sins respectively, 'Home' charts the journey of a young woman from Liverpool and her efforts to find herself in the USA of the seventies. In this sense, the album almost has the effect of a musical, or prog rock opera as Christina Booth's vocals tell the physical and mental story of the adventure from Liverpool to America and home again.

Magenta cite their influences as 70's progressive rock groups like Yes and Pink Floyd, and their progressive style also shares many similarities with the uplifting prog rock of Journey. All of the tracks here are long and complex, seamlessly combining vocals with soaring solos and intricate instrumentals, though the style is often predictable as each song follows a similar pattern of simple vocal and piano intro that builds into a powerful display of musical talent. However, there's no denying the alluring quality of Christina Booth's voice, which is constantly smooth, pretty, rich and full, yet still able to capture the longing and vulnerability imbued in the songs. 'Hurt' uses jagged guitars before smoothing out into the typically prog-sound, as a powerful and emotive solo wails self-indulgently alongside along side beautiful piano. 'Moving On' grows from its rippling piano intro into big drums crashing behind a catchy melody, as the song develops a bombastic funk rock sway. Equally, 'The Dream's' brooding start also stands out, with its dark, nightmarish instrumentals, as does the slightly intimidating strings, pipes and heavier, more decisive melody of the eleven-minute epic, 'Joe'.

If you're not a fan of the typical prog rock sound, listening to Magenta will do little to change your perception of it. Yet, although many of the lyrics feel rather cliché, the musical ability is quite faultless - as is Booth's voice; certainly, true prog and soft rock fans will fall in love with all sixty-seven minutes of 'Home'.