Just before Christmas 2017 I sent out my normal greetings email to all and sundry, which resulted in a flurry of emails between myself and Colin Tench about his new album, ‘Minor Masterpiece’ and our normal banter about him being in the snow and me being in the heat. I sent him an email on Christmas Eve saying I was still reviewing hard, and that there was no rest for the wicked and he responded on Christmas Day with “You should be sitting about in a funny hat eating mince pies! That’s my plan anyway. Colin of the North”. We were both English born, but I now lived in NZ and he in Sweden, so he was Colin of the North, and I was Kevin of the South. On December 27th, 2017, just two days after our last exchange, Colin died from natural causes. This hit everyone who knew him incredibly hard as it was such a shock. It was totally unexpected, and as with the loss of Geoff Mann some years earlier I was in somewhat of a daze. Nearly four years later and I still have problems comprehending what happened, and I know that all his friends feel the same way.
One of those friends was keyboard player Andres Guazzelli, who worked with Colin on multiple projects. They had already agreed that Colin would play on his next solo album, ‘World Citizen’, after he had completed ‘Minor Masterpiece’, but of course that never came to fruition. Now, more than three years after his passing, Colin can be heard again on this new three-track EP from Andres, who has used previously unheard takes from Colin to produce 12 minutes of new music with a full band. The full title of the EP is ‘Awakening (In Memory of Colin Tench)’ and highlights the wonderful touch Colin had on both electric and acoustic guitar. It is the second time the song “August” has made an appearance but here it is played with a full band as opposed to the stripped version which Andres released as a tribute to Colin back in 2018, with the guitar now front and centre. It is incredibly emotional, dealing with the five stages of grief, and is deeply moving. The second song is the longest, “December (A Warm Embrace)” and is lighter in context and more orchestral, while “April (The Final Acceptance)” brings us into a more vibrant and awakening passage.
It is impossible for me to listen to this music without thinking of Colin all the time but given that it is a tribute then that is okay. What it does mean though, is that it is impossible for me to strip the emotional response away from the music itself, so I have no idea just how good this is. What I can say is that it is a perfect memorial to a man taken away far too soon, and one which has touched me deeply. It is available as a digital release on Bandcamp for the paltry amount of $4 USD, and if you enjoy music full of emotion, passion, and tenderness, then this is it.
Colin, I miss you, my friend. Kevin of the South.
10/10 Kev Rowland