Virtuosity web site
January 2003

I have a lot of CDs, including nearly everything remotely "spiritual prog" in existence, as you might guess. Well, today I got in the mail a cd that blew my socks off, and it is by artist I had a nearly complete collection of, Geoff Mann.

Geoff was a vicar of the Church of England, a sold out Christian, as well as being the lead vocalist/lyricist for one England's premier neo prog bands, Twelfth Night. The work he produced with Twelfth Night was some great stuff, cool melodic prog, with hints and allegories about Christ abounding in Geoff's stellar, satirical lyrics. Geoff eventually left the band and put out a number of cool solo albums in the late 80's, early 90's, but while experimental in many way, and mostly full of Christian themes, none of them were particularly progressive, except a concept-album collaboration with Clive Nolan of Pendragon called Casino, and a few songs here and there.

Or so I thought.

Luckily for Geoff (but not for the rest of us), he got to go and be with the Lord about ten years ago. But he left one gem undiscovered (at least by me): Ministry of the Interior. It was one of his last albums, and was recorded with the band, Eh! It is absolutely the best thing he ever did. Provocative, creative, progressive, cohesive, spiritually alive, and just flat out awesome. There's a 20 minute epic (The Walking Dawn), great tasteful playing, and of course, gobs of Geoff's witty, insightful, challenging lyrics.

If you are a fan of Genesis, Marillion, or any of the 80's neo prog stuff, Ministry of the Interior is essential fare.

web site © Andy Labrow / Jane Mann