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Synaesthesia - Synaesthesia CD (album) cover

SYNAESTHESIA

Synaesthesia

 

Crossover Prog

3.94 | 152 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
5 stars 2014 off with a huge bang. "Extra, Extra, tweet all about it" yells the cyber-paperboy!

Confidence, balls, courage, chutzpah, called it what you will but kicking off a career with a 22 minute extravaganza is a risky business, so it better be darn good. Here we have, blasting out of the blocks, an epic song that touches on so many fronts, at times symphonic and then exploding into an endless vortex of new mood plateaus of sensorial delight, the kind of music you would put on to seduce some succulent young lady into falling into your proggy arms. The best word to describe the first impressions is a sense of beauty that has a huge amount of thought and amazing instrumentation by a one man band, with only some guitar help. The expression is of human reality and not some Tolkien-esque fantasy. "Time, Tension and Intervention" is a 21st century classic, monumental both in scope and in depth, yet seductive to the ear, wrapped in a series of sumptuous melodies, cascading wildly like some winter whirlwind. The guitar playing is world-class, shimmering and glimmering, evidently influenced by the likes of Rothery, Latimer, Barrret, Hackett and IQ's Mike Holmes (who also produces and guides here). Add Akkerman to the list as there is even quite blatantly, the first bars of Hocus Pocus, just to get us older foggies excited again. Two fretboarders are hired to supply the needed shriek, Ollie Hannifan and Nikolas Jon. The arsenal of keyboards create a rich, modern, even futuristic tapestry, hinting at old stylists like Gary Wright, Thomas Dolby, Manfred Mann and Rick Wakeman. The 4 string marvel coughs belligerently, bopping when required and bitch solid when needed. Drumming is quite muscular, pounding hard within echo-laden synthesized atmosphere. The whole rocks, soothes, careens and caresses, all perfectly synchronized and keeping the edge honed at all times. A colossal achievement worthy of the highest praise and frankly, the talk of Progtown, at least in Neo/Symphonic circles. "All I need is a friend and I found you". Indeed!

The one man band is Adam Warne, a 21 year-old wunderkind who must have grown up listening to Vulgar Unicorn albums, as there is a stylistic similitude that explains epic sizes, bombast and subtlety, power and caress. Or he has incredible prog instincts or someone gave him a proper and in depth education, covering the golden years , the abyss periods where electronic synth-pop ruled the waves and the recent magnificent progressive renaissance. His voice is a pleasant hush, not unlike Steve Wilson or Riverside's Mariusz Duda, as is very evident on the second tune, the brash, bellicose and blatantly flipped out "Sacrifice", which winks at classic Foghat, Trapeze and such. Yet Adam has more surprises up his vocal sleeve, doing successfully some intrepid modulations, occasionally serene, often powerful and evocative on so many levels, even detached ennui. Wimpy neo-prog this is not. In fact, it razor sharp and rapier devastating, ballsy and rocky in unending surprise or the musical version of shock and awe (less lethal than war), as the subject matter is mostly romantic slanted, evoking distant aromas of early Roxy Music...Speaking of which, while I happen to be on the subject?

"Moumenon" has a distant relationship to Bryan Ferry's Mamouna album, only in that it's musically exuberant and adventurous like Roxy Music was once. A simply crafted, rollicking piece of entirely proggy prog of the finest vintage, soaring Manzanera-like guitar solo to add the proverbial cherry.

"Epiphany" is the most poignant and delirious song I have heard in a decade (aka that's a lot of music ? Lots). Kicks off like rocket from hell, ka-boom and quickly, unexpectedly flutters into a sumptuous mood, very sexy, very Ferry one second and a howler the next. The same then happens with the music veering into Hawkwind-intense, blazing mellotron leading the charge, the mind reeling from the sheer enjoyment of hearing such quality music, this song is a perfect audio time capsule for the genius of prog, a universe that combines the roots with the heavens, blending in all the colors of the spectrum. Warne bellows "Please take me home" over and over again until the final climax. You have to hear this to believe it, a masterpiece slice of brilliance.

Let's get those neo-prog bashers into a tizzy, gazing down only at their foolishness, tied as they are to this Synaesthesia chair and endure the unthinkable pleasure! Couple of short gems add sparkle to the rain = "Good Riddance" is a snarly affair, replete with gusto and bravado (them two Italian twins), "live my life" he blurts, the voice suave and the theme electric. Booming bass, obsessive themes not unlike Anathema, especially in lieu of Warne's emotional delivery that does recall Vince Cavanagh, perhaps one of the finest current rock singers ever.

This modern trend becomes extremely obvious on "Technology Killed the Kids" (great name for a band, no?), wondering where the video star is hiding now, a quirky little thingie that is smart and well-played, old bean! There is a robust but playful sense to the proceedings that just 'buggles' the mind.

The whopper prog-pop song "Life's What You Make of It" ends the album, a clear declaration of their prog roots, giving priority to the ethereal and luminescent. This , folks, is a another killer , on a murderous album, not to be confused with almost similarly titled Talk Talk hit back in the 80s . Here you may get a Vienna Circle vibe or a proggier Blackfield if you like. Another reviewer mentioned Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, which is again confirming the 80s sensibilities displayed here in abundance. Amazing performance with flourishing bass, swirling synths and propulsive drums giving the passionate vocal a solid platform to expand on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

As I stated earlier, this is timeless music, the type I could only pray to make if I was a musician. Bah, being an audiophile is good enough! So many familiar tinges, 80s stuff like the Korgis, Simple Minds, New Muzik, Naked Eyes and similar ilk, all processed with intense, modern and classy proggisms.

Synaesthesia generously gave and I happily took. One of the finest debut albums in prog.

5 no-brainers

tszirmay | 5/5 |

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