Change Life - Harvest (6) - Underground Community (CD, Album) download full album zip cd mp3 vinyl flac
This is an excellent album. It was already on my "to buy" list for on release, simply because I enjoyed Underground Harvest so much. So, when the band, out of the blue, contacted me and sent me the CD to review, it was a very pleasant surprise.
They haven't disappointed at all. I gave the first album 3. For this one, a straight four. Harvest are a very strong outfit, with four fine musicians, and, in Monique van der Kolk, my favourite female prog vocalist of current times and there is some pretty strong competition for that. Her voice is simply beautiful, and is at the heart of all that is going on here.
Very highly recommended, this is a self released CD available on the band's website now. I mean that neo-prog fans will surely like this album. Monique van der Kolk has a voice that I find similar but not identical to Heather Finlay and Steve Rothery guests on one track. It's Monique's voice which gives an added value to the song. It's very melodic. It's the kind of song that could become a hit with the right promotion but because it's good, not because it's more or less commercial.
A good start for the album, followed by "Intuition". Also on this song the vocals are the most relevant element together with the strings guitar at least I think it's a strings which helps the drums. I don't hear any Marillion here, maybe just a bit in the guitar solo. The melody is strong enough. Piano and vocals open "The Spell". This is one of the highlights. Something in the sounds used made me think to pop bands like Cranberries or early U2, but the core is surely progressive.
Let me say that while the Marillion's influence is very clear and confirmed by the presence of Steve Rothery, a link with Mostly Autumn is something that I feel but I don't know if it's really an influence or just my idea. After Monique there's a male voice I don't know who isthen the two sing in choir in a little crescendo. Also the melody changes so that the song appears not so trivial like at a first glance. A bit of rock comes with "In Debris", but it's Album) the intro.
After few seconds we are in another very melodic song. Good melody also here, but there are probably too many slow songs in sequence. Probably a different tracklist with uptime and slow songs alternated would have been better. In any case this is not a boring song, don't get me wrong. Before the moment when electric guitar and drums make it rockier, it makes me think to Susan Vega, Change Life - Harvest (6) - Underground Community (CD, that's not prog but is an artist that I like.
The second part of the song is again between Marillion and Mostly Autumn with an excellent interlude leading to a good guitar solo. Forgive the repetition: this album even if apparently easy requires several listens. Another acoustic guitar intro for "Yesteryear". This song has a country-rock flavor. Monique sounds like a folk-singer. When the bass enters musically it's like being in the Fish era with a touch of Peter Gabriel here the vocals are very high-pitched.
Nice song. I again hear similarities with Susan Vega on the opening of "Unknown Skylines", but Susan's voice is not so powerful. This song is not comparable to Marillion or any other band. It's like the band is slightly finding its own sound.
I don't know on which track Rothery plays. Whoever plays, it's a very good solo. Not fast or difficult, but with all the notes in the right place. As in the previous song, also here I have the impression to hear the research of a more "personal" sound. Imagine the Marillion of the early Hogarth period with Heather Finlay at the vocals and you'll have an idea of how it sounds.
The guitar is more gilmouresque can it be this the Rothery Album) I like particularily the bass solo interlude after 3 minutes and a half which leads to a section dominated by the guitar. This is the most complex track and an excellent closer. I haven't realized how good it is on the first listens, probably because I'm currently so involved with Avant and Zeuhl that I had to adapt my ears to less experimental music.
I have some difficulties about the rating. Surely neo-prog and prog-folk fans will like this album a lot. I'm rating it with 3 stars but I strongly suggest it to whoever loves this subgenre. The band is more than promising and I like their musicianship other than the excellent vocals. Having rounded up their debut I'm not feeling guilty also because I have taken 3 days to write this review and I hope to have done a good job.
With my compliments to the band. My first impression of the album, listened just once when I downloaded it was of good neo- prog but what remained in my mind after that listen was just a Marillion cover, and that cover was what helped me to remember the band, but it means that I have listened to the 9 previious songs with enough concentration and I have discovered an excellent band with very good songs well played and with an excellent singer.
In the end the Marillion Change Life - Harvest (6) - Underground Community (CD Waiting to Happen is just a cover and the voice of Monique van der Kolk sounds too sweet respect to the powerful high pitches of Steve Hogarth, but that voice sounds excellent in the rest of the album.
Monique's voice is remarkable. It's probably the word "Autumn" in the opener that seems inspired to Prevert's poetry, but she makes me think to Heather Findlay but also to Megan Wheatley of Dan Britton's project "All Over Everywhere". Voice apart, the song is good. I have left the neo-prog subgenre since some years but I can still recognize the good neo-prog when I hear it. This is very good. It's just for few seconds then they are back to their genre with a song still in Marillion's chords even if I hear a connection to Mostly Autumn also on this song.
It's a song on which one can guess that this band is Spanish or better, Catalan. There's also more rock respect to the previous tracks. Surely is one of the less commercial. After a short instrumental, that's the title track, that would have deserved to be exploited better, a piano introduces a mellow song that's too mellow for my tastes. Nice as background during a travel by car but nothing more. Maybe Magenta is the best reference for this song "The Horizon" sounds as a Marillion song of the Hogarth era but the chorus gives me an idea of Mostly Autumn again.
It's one of the best album's songs. However it introduces quite well the cover mentioned before. We have bass and keyboards reminding to Marillion while guitar and vocals are closer to Mostly Autumn. A short acoustic song follows: "Night Comes Down" must be mentioned mainly because of it's position in the album: I think it comes exactly in the best moment. A few of chill-out before the closure that's darker. After a piano that is able to give an idea of what will follow we have drums and distorted guitar, then piano and vocals again.
Here I think to Porcupine Tree. This is a very promising debut album. They still sound too much like their bigger influencer but have good original ideas, too. Tyson Mink. Rob Ridner. Tim Worcester. Kirt Malinowski. Alexandre Avelar. Matt Conzen. Jack Auses. Daniel Bouweraerts.
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