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Also Eden - [REDACTED] CD (album) cover


Also Eden



3.84 | 109 ratings

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5 stars It's a crime how under-the-radar UK's Also Eden have been for years. Yeah, there are a ton of excellent modern prog bands, but AE have deserved a place next to the most buzzed-about bands since their excellent 2006 debut ABOUT TIME. And while they've undergone lineup changes over the years, the band seems (mostly) stable since 2011's THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

On paper, you can hear AE's influences..a little Genesis, a little Marillion, a little Radiohead. On disc though, one of AE's charms is their unique sound, and while you can spot the precedents if you try, they never fall into purely derivative territory. (Only on CHILDREN's "The Greater Game" do they sound overtly like Fish-era Marillion, and I've always thought it was more hommage than anything else.) Their previous three albums are all superb, especially CHILDREN, but on (REDACTED) AE have reached a new pinnacle of modern progressive art.

Yeah, it's a concept album. And yes, you may have heard it revisits a surprisingly familiar prog-rock concept, namely the aftermath of a devastating traffic accident. But while both Dream Theater and Spock's Beard have used this conceit to convey a sense of fear and dread (with mixed results), (REDACTED) instead gives us a meditation on life and survival that is positively Zen in its organic approach. Like the best prog, it spools out slowly over the course of its 8 tracks, often building tension and heft through the layering of clever and surprising instrumental tracks. Also like the best prog, the album reveals itself only through repeated listens, and sounds fantastic on a good pair of headphones. The mix is get wide soundstage like a good Floyd album, but there's also a gorgeous depth....Rich Harding's classicist prog vocals sail cleanly about a spacious pillow of sound, buffeted by layers of guitars and keys. Listen closely and you hear things you won't C&W-influenced slide guitars, or the bits that sound like one guitar figure magically expanding into multiple tracks right before your ears. Simon Rogers outdoes himself with axe work that always supports the songs and creates context and often soars melodically, but never crosses the line into wankery.

I could single out a song or two but the album functions as a whole and should be heard that way. The concept and some of the other clever conceits (like the song titles) enhance the work but aren't necessary to enjoyment. (In fact i fell in love with the album several spins before reading about the story behind it.) If you like your modern prog organic and lush, melodic and moving, with a lot of sonic detail that requires more than just a casual spin but real attention on your part to uncover. (REDACTED) is a must-hear. If you're already a fan of AE you will love this record. If you're not, you will be after experiencing (REDACTED).

mitchgo | 5/5 |


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