Album Review: T2- It’ll All Work Out In Boomland Expanded Edition

Aaron ConnAlbum Review, MusicLeave a Comment

boomland album cover

boomland album coverEsoteric Records, a Cherry Red Records Label, have once again taken a deep dive into the world of progressive rock. This time, the label has reissued UK based rockers T2’s 1970 lost gem It’ll All Work Out In Boomland. Not only has the album been newly remastered but it comes with two additional discs filled with demo recordings. Looking at all previous releases of the album, this new one might be the most comprehensive to date.

A Little History
T2 were created from the ashes of several 1960s bands. Guitarist Keith Cross and bassist Bernard Jinks had just come out psychedelic rockers Bulldog Breed- who broke up after only one album. With the band split, Cross and Jinks decided to form a new band. Completing the line up was drummer/singer Pete Dunton- who had played with Jinks in both Neon Pearl and Please. The band were soon signed to Decca Records and by 1970- the band had released Boomland. While the band had some success initial performing gigs, the album received little to no publicity. Along with Keith Cross’ departure, the band were dropped by Decca Records. Despite this, the band kept going until 1972- albeit with Dunton being the lone consistent member. Decades after its release, Boomland would gain a cult following amongst avid prog rock fans- enough to the point where Dunton decided to use the T2 name again. Between 1992 and 1994, the new T2 would release three new studio albums.

Excluding the 1990s albums, T2 were really a “one and done” band. With that, some might wonder as to how their lone album was able to get an expanded edition reissue. In the years following the reunited T2’s split, two albums of demo recordings were released- which were created shortly after the release of Boomland. Give that this is essentially a set of three different albums, I’ll be reviewing this set album by album.

It’ll All Work Out In Boomland (1970)
boomland album coverFrom its bold production to its brash guitar riffs, Boomland is an amazing piece of work. Despite the fact that the album features only four songs, Boomland offers 44 minutes of progressive rock and heavy psych. The album’s opener, “In Circles”, hooks you right from the start with the wild mix of  Cross’ flashy guitar work,  Jinks’ thumping bass line and the jungle rattling of Dunton’s drum work. Progressive folk is showcased on slower-paced “J.L.T.” while heaviness is offered aplenty on guitar/horns and harmony-laden “No More White Horses.”   The album’s 21-minute epic closer “Morning”, however, sees the band letting it all out in full force- offering a little bit of everything from the previous songs. From top to bottom, Boomland is truly a unique progressive rock gem.

It’s also worth mentioning that this album has been newly remastered from the original master tapes, which were thought to have been lost. Previous reissues of Boomland apparently used a different source. Comparing this to my other copy of the album (an iTunes purchase of a 2000s reissue), the new remaster sounds quieter. However, this sounds more natural and each instrument is highlighted wonderfully.

Rating: 8/10

T2/Fantasy (recorded 1970, released 1997)
t2 fantasyDespite Boomland being the lone album released by the original line up, T2 did record a couple of demos tracks for what might’ve been their second album. The album, T2 (also known as Fantasy), is a good as a collection of demo recordings. As an album, this is where it struggles. Given the rough and grainy quality of the demos, it’s hard to imagine this as a proper studio album. For what it is, this does have some good songs- with some surprisingly heavy guitar riffs from Keith Cross shining through. While it isn’t entirely memorable, it’s worth a listen.

Highlights: Highway, Timothy Monday, CD, Fantasy
Rating: 7/10

t2 1971 72 1971-72 (recorded 1971-72, released 2012)
More than ten years after T2/Fantasy, a second collection of demos by T2 was released by Acme Records. Similar to T2/Fantasy, the sound quality on here isn’t great. Unlike the first collection, this isn’t as good. By this point, Pete Dunton had replaced both Keith Cross and Bernard Jinks- so it’s a different band in a way. This isn’t to say the songs here are bad. There are a few good tune here. However, the original line-up had a chemistry and magic binding them together- which just can’t be felt here. The stuff that falls on the weak side especially sticks out, with most of it being meandering.

Highlights: And Time, Questions and Answers, The Clown, PDQ
Rating: 5/10

Overall thoughts
As a whole, Esoteric and Cherry Red have managed to put together a solid expanded edition of It’ll All Work Out In Boomland. Along with the reissue’s double/triple digipack packaging comes a booklet with liner notes on the first album. While not as detailed and in-depth as other liner notes found in previous Cherry Red released, this is still a nice addition. If you have an older copy of this album, I’d recommend picking up this new reissue/remaster. Whether anyone will come back to the bonus discs, it’s still nice to see this album get the love it deserves.

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Aaron ConnAlbum Review: T2- It’ll All Work Out In Boomland Expanded Edition