SCOTLAND has a great tradition of progressive rock music, at least with a small ‘p’. Our country’s contributions to the distinct 1970s Prog sub-genre may have been minimal, true, but post-rock acts such as Mogwai and The Jesus and Mary Chain were just as influential in directing their respective styles.

Glasgow quintet Halo Tora are a unique act in that regard. As well as being influenced by Pink Floyd, and adhering to traditional prog rock values, their style is just as informed by alternative trends.

Ambitious and sonically meticulous, their debut album Omni/One is progressive in the best way possible. The band’s core sound is distinct: piano melodies, guitar tremolo and vocal harmonies form the basis of these tracks.

Their ambient grooves are inviting, transporting the listener on a journey much like the best prog bands of old.

The slow burn and release of tracks like Under the Surface show that the band value restraint, emphasising texture and pop melody.

They also know how to rock out at points – Ruins is a particular highlight, building to a glorious fist-pumping climax.

The quintet’s epic sound is a two-edged sword of course. Chris Alexander’s vocals, compounded by fellow vocalist and guitarist Ian McCall, can come across as grandiose.

These nitpicks are only really brought to the fore on tracks like The Bones That Rock the Cradle, where the overblown vocals aren’t exactly matched by the instrumentation.

Elsewhere, this isn’t an issue at all. There’s an operatic quasi-metal feel to latter tracks like Age of Terror where it’s fair to say that the melodrama isn’t out of place.

Instrumentally, they’re just as bombastic. Permanent Revolution uses a classic rock formula, taking a template of one simple melody over three/four simple chords, re-imagining it in several combinations before culminating with a magnificent guitar solo.

As much as they’re adventurous, credit must be given for the production – everything here sounds crisp and dynamic. The group’s long, complex approach could easily have made this album a slog to listen to, but instead it sounds timeless.

Perhaps that’s what’s so appealing about Halo Tora – they strive for compositional sophistication and depth but are just as likely to build a song around a big emotional hook.

When it comes to atmospheric guitar music, Mogwai have been kings in this country for the past generation. As they gear up for a three-disc retrospective compilation next month, it feels like it’s time for a new band to step up.

Halo Tora sound more than ready to take up that challenge. They launched the album to a sold-out Audio crowd in Glasgow last night, however Edinburgh gig-goers can’t afford to miss their show at Electric Circus tonight.

The album is out now on East End Records.

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