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Pollen - Pollen CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.10 | 177 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars What it is about prog that is so endearing to me is a number of things, as for most people. Taste is highly subjective but also connected to timing and emotional state at the time of listening. Maybe I wasn't attentive enough the first time I heard Pollen. I guess I wasn't. Really.

It's been a long time coming, me breaking this album and taking time to grasp it properly. I acquired it a long time ago and have grasped it, bit by bit, over the years. At first I found it a bit too awkward, askew and frankly too metallic in flavor. I missed the warmth. Now, however, I do know what I think of the album and thus I feel ready to deliver my judgement. The debut album by Pollen is something extraordinaire. That is a genuine belief of mine, although I obviously "only" award it three stars. I will tell you why I think like I do.

The instrumentation and delivery of it all is outstanding. The boys in the band possess a tone and identiity that is theirs, yet they do show off quite an ability to master other styles of prog connected to certain bands, in not so small a part Genesis, I would think. There is complexity enough to keep any prog fan happy but there's also quite alot of accessibility. The blend of those two spectrums make the album very enjoyable indeed. I think Pollen is unique enough to stand out, yet, like I wrote, their inspiration or inspirations are quite clear.

The album kicks off with "Vieux corps de vie d´ange". The thing is that this particular track holds a riff (or introductional theme) that is gloriously askew and if not dissonant, then at least severely demented. It is scary, agressive and threatening. When the vocals kick in, which they do almost from the start, it only adds to the general feeling of discomfort. It may sound as if I'm not that keen on this track but I am. It is a great, thumping piece of music. Dark, threatening and powerful. Lovely start of a record and prog in the best of ways. After "Vieux corps de vie d ´ange" three tracks follow that, though by no means bad, still do not carry the inspiration and fire of the first song. Enjoyable but that is it.

And then they come, the last two of the bunch: "Vivre la mort" and "La femme ailée". What we have here, beloved proggers, are two amazing tracks. "Vivre la mort" starts with a great organ riff and vocals. I am getting reminded of Genesis "Trespass" album here and that is not bad, since Pollen are elaborate enough to envelop and develop that sound to something of their own. I have no words, really. Simply fabolous.

The last track, "La femme ailée", is the true epic of the album with really lovely keyboard passages and great vocals. The keyboards remind me of Rick Wakeman and the sound is close to Yes at times. Complex, melodic and shifting.

Conclusion: Out of the six tracks on the album three are amazing and the rest is okay. Perfectly executed but not really all that memorable. The last two tracks are the true winners, full of prog ability and wonder. I love those two tracks to bits and have not been able to crawl my way out of it's grip for days. The album is, however, not flawless. After hearing it I seldom feel I want to hear it all over again. I pick out, mostly, the last two and maybe I'll head for the opening track, once I've enjoyed those. Maybe the album isn't varied enough? Well, it is. It just doesn't hit it off completely with me. Still, I would really recommend anyone to get acquainted with the album. It is a good album, even brilliant at times. 50% of the times, actually. That is why award the album, three stars. Brilliant at times, just not solid enough.

GruvanDahlman | 3/5 |


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