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Vienna Circle - Silhouette Moon CD (album) cover

SILHOUETTE MOON

Vienna Circle

 

Neo-Prog

3.97 | 167 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars A band of serious songwriters who manage to pull together quite a little gathering of eclectic sounds (and influences?). The use of orchestra is well done, the simple-yet-intricate song structures and instrument use and play is all highly commendable. I've been quite enjoying this album for a little while and think the album's sole "epic," "Dreams Presage" belongs in the pantheon of classic prog epics.

1. "Strangers" (1:43) is an innocuous little intro dittie. (7/10)

2. "Envy" (2:22) is a very cool, deceptively complex little dittie. Female b vox, strumming acoustic guitars and arppeggiating piano accompany a very melodic vocal, until el. Gtr screams out a wicked solo between the first B and second A section. (10/10)

3. "Dreams Presage" (13:20) begins with about half a minute of flute to introduce the main melody before the full band joins in. At 1:19 a heavy prog with orchestra enters adding some drama and tension. Things quiet down with muted guitar arppeggios before a sax solo takes us through some light and heavy background themes. Then at 3:14 a new synth-led, flute- backed section recapitulates the original theme. At 3:50 all sound and themes drop away to leave a piano, seagulls, and some echoed guitar notes to set up the vocalist. A very pretty section. This song has a very nice, maturely complex feel to it. At 6:25 bass and synth "bees" lead the song to a shift to a more Wild West folk melody behind the simplified flute melody. A return at 7:20 to the vocal section, this time with a little more instrumentation to give it a little more power--to which the vocalist responds in kind. Nice use of orchestra to back the heavier sections. A slightly divergent vocal section begins at the nine minute mark, morphing into a simple song structure with some nice vocals harmonies working totally in sync. Kind of a lull--extended a bit too long for my tastes---in this otherwise exceptional song. AT 12:05 the song returns to full power though with an interesting dichotomy of acoustic/orchestra-like instruments playing along with and in equal power to that of the heavier electrified rock instruments. Odd sudden ending--which seems to bleed into the next song. (9/10)

4. "Scarlet Dance" (3:14) uses the same chord progression from the previous song in a blues-rock format--with a talk-tube modified lead guitar playing its blues riffs throughout the song. Nice portamento synth solo from 1:45 to 2:32. Pretty good song that, again, bleeds into the next song. (8/10)

5. "Woven Wings" (6:26) is a very different song from the previous in that it feels more acoustic and folk oriented--kind of reminds me of the Swedish band, RITUAL. Light, positive, and hummable. It definitely gets into your brain and stays there for a while. AT 2:18 acoustic guitar riffs are doubled up by electric guitars and the song shifts into heavier mode. Flute and picked acoustic guitar join in the mix giving it a very JETHRO TULL feel. Very melodic and almost poppy--though filled with plenty of quirks, subtleties and structural shifts--all of which makes it downright proggy. (9/10)

6. "Ballad of Night" (6:33) begins with a very familiar pop sounding piano chord progression (BONNIE RAIT?) before taking a MOON SAFARI-like turn with full band and sax. The second time it launches into the heavier, orchestra-supported full-band chorus section it sounds very much like the GOO GOO DOLLS' classic hit, "Iris" (which is pseudo-prog, right?) The delicate instrumental part in the fifth minute is quite nice, using space and single notes and hits to great effect. Then the "Iris" section returns and plays out as an instrumental to the end. (8/10)

7. "Sea" (3:36) is a soft, spacious psychedilia song in the vein of LED ZEPPELIN's "The Ocean" from Houses of The Holy. Nothing very special here. (7/10)

8. Eternity" (2:43) is another brief song--an instrumental---that packs a lot into a short time. Beautiful use of orchestra to accompany a kind of U2 "With or Without You" beat and sound-- at least until the electric guitar begins its solo. (7/10)

9. "Together" (5:46) begins with voice and piano performing the melody line simultaneously. A kind of BEATLES "Eleanor Rigby" feel creeps in until the blues-rock electric guitar lead enters (around 1:30). Synth flute in the background is a bit incongruous. Then at 2:47 a drum flurry introduces a kind of folk rock section quite similar to the early AMERICA sound (though the guitar play isn't nearly as intricate or layered as that amazing band was known to do). The song kind of shifts and plays out very much like a GEORGE HARRISON song. Nicely done, if you like that sort of thing. (8/10)

10. "Departure" (3:23) ends the album with an instrumental worthy of a Donnie Darko or Titanic-like soundtrack: piano, distant female voice, full orchestral participation (love the lower register brass!) and, RADIOHEAD/DOVES-like guitars. (10/10)

A wonderful effort from these masters of delicate intricacies and lilting melodies. 4.5 stars rated down for feeling a bit more crossover/prog-related than neo/symphonic.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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