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Major Parkinson - Twilight Cinema CD (album) cover

TWILIGHT CINEMA

Major Parkinson

 

Eclectic Prog

3.81 | 140 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

stegor
5 stars Let me just say I haven't been this taken away in years. Chills I tell you. I had heard their previous album, Songs From a Solitary Home, before I heard Twilight Cinema, so I had some expectations, but this surpassed them. That album has Showtune-like melodies that come across as odd but highly entertaining Novelty-Prog-Pop, with lots of abrupt changes, jumping from a ridiculously catchy cabaret number to a Ventures pastiche to a metal workout to a folky number and back again.

Twilight Cinema takes some of that whimsy and layers it on top of a solid slab of expertly crafted Prog Rock, blended with some dark Nordic Folk flavors. This is exactly the direction I was hoping for when I saw the album cover and read the description. There is some darkness in the music and words, but the whimsy they developed on "Songs From'" still shows through. This dichotomy is apparent right from the intro track, "Skeleton Sangria", which alternates sad, happy, sad, happy, sad. Very theatrical.

There's still some abrupt style changes on Twilight Cinema but they are much more controlled and deliberate. The album plays like a solid whole rather than fragments that split off in all directions. That can be fun, but this is captivating. They do a lot with 3/4 and 6/8 meters, giving most of the album a real swingy feel even when it erupts into some of the more aggressive sections, like "Heart Machine". Singer Jon Ivar Kollbotn has a gravelly Tom Waits-like voice which I think is better suited to this new direction. There is a lovely female voice (haven't found a credit yet) that comes in occasionally, providing a great contrast. I think this is the first time I've heard a keyboardist (Lars Christian Bj'rknes) that reminds me of John Evan at times, and drummer Jens Erik Aasmundseth does a mean Barriemore Barlow. There are actually passages that invoke memories of Passion Play and Songs from the Wood. Is that a guy in a rabbit suit I see in that stage shot'?

The playing throughout, by all members, is just right by me. Nothing too over-indulgent or show-offy. This is an ensemble cast, nobody's trying to show anybody else up. The guitars (Andr' Lund & Steinar Hjelmbrekke) cover a lot of sonic territory from folky acoustic through metallic attacks to fanciful plucky scribbles. Bassist Eivind Gammersvik anchors the whole show with a solid framework that rarely calls attention to itself, but when it does, it rocks. The recording is excellent and the production is huge. If there is one negative thing I can say it's that I wish the drummer would lighten up on the crashes a bit. Personal preference maybe, but I prefer cymbals as accent, and too much accent = no accent. Not a big deal, his performance is spot-on otherwise.

Picking a favorite track is difficult but it's hard to ignore the magnificence of the title track "Twilight Cinema", as it seems to contain the best of all the ingredients, but tomorrow it will probably be "Beaks of Benevola".

I'm very tempted to give this album 5 stars, but I'm going with 4 for now - I'd like to see how I feel after many listens.

-Edit- I now feel justified in giving this 5 stars. It takes a lot to thrill me these days, and this does.

stegor | 5/5 |

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