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Thinking Plague - Moonsongs CD (album) cover

MOONSONGS

Thinking Plague

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.29 | 25 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ShW1
4 stars "Moonsongs" is the 2nd LP by the band, and it is also featured in tracks 1 to 5 on the "Early Plague Years" reissue album. Compared to the 1st album "a Thinking Plague", it is a big step forward.

The overall atmosphere of the album is much rockier and stronger. Drums and percussion take major place here and the tribal, heavy percussion section, which is performed several times, got its "African tough" style, reminiscent to percussion from Peter Gabriel albums of the same era.

Mike Johnson continues to develop as a composer, expand his abilities and build his own original style, in a magnificent way. It is also evident that the band's performance has improved a lot since its first album. A few changes were made in the line up, and the member's functions, so that each member got a large and significant contribution to the final result.

Mark Fuller plays drums on all tracks, so he became a full time drummer and percussionist, which elevates the whole project. He is a skilled percussionist, an excellent drummer and the leader of the percussion section. Bob Drake is a very creative sound engineer, who could take every musical idea and make out the best of it, in particular sounds and pallets, without loosing the overall balance and clearness of every instrument. In addition, he is a brilliant bassist. Vocalist Susanne Lewis sounds punchy and raw, without losing the pitch and could successfully deliver the demanding melodies by Johnson.

Although the overall style of the album is unified and homogeneous, each track is unique and gives its own view to the overall atmosphere: "Warheads" is a strong, rhythmic opener. It has its riffs and melodies, and develops in an interesting, unusual way. Odd time signatures and tempo changes are taking place here. "Etudes For Combo" is a sort of a written jam for a band, and was recorded live. "Collarless Fog" is a short, atmospheric jam by the band. A kind of soundscape, "post rock" before this term was invented. "Inside Out" is a moving love song, by Lewis and Drake, performed with lush synths and sung beautifully by Lewis.

"Moonsongs" is the best and strongest track. This track manages to blend in several styles in a brilliant way. One can hear among others a beautiful modern melody, African rhythms by the tribal percussion section, a sampled voice, "dance to the moonlight" saxophones, quiet and moving moments and the opposing very loud moments. The end result is very emotional and theatrical. This closes the album in a way that left me astonished and with a dropped jaw.

This album is strongly recommended to TP fans, RIO fans, Symphonic prog fans, 80's music fans and African tribal percussion freaks. In other words, it is recommended to everyone, or at least to every proghead who would like to try challenging, innovating, and yet very enjoyable music.

More than just a four stars album...

ShW1 | 4/5 |

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