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Anton Roolaart - The Plight of Lady Oona CD (album) cover

THE PLIGHT OF LADY OONA

Anton Roolaart

 

Symphonic Prog

3.78 | 59 ratings

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richardh
Prog Reviewer
4 stars This is Anton's second full album release , the first being Dreamer some 7 years ago. This falls into that very melodic symphonic prog bracket occupied by the likes of David Minasian and Nick Magnus. Do not expect dark edgy music when you enter here but rather lush orchestral style arrangements adding guitars and synths with a measured calm approach. I've seen the term 'Dad Prog' banded about when describing this sort of thing but there is nothing wrong in my book with relaxing music. More the point is whether its actually any good? Americans would say ''Hell YES!!''.

The opening track Gravity features what seems like an orchestra (not a real orchestra but its hard to tell that) and is very mellow and slow. Quite a nice start. The second track 'The Stars Falls Down' doesn't exactly pick up the pace but does include a bit more guitar and piano. More substantial instrumentally and a very good track. So far so good but nothing especially earth shattering. Some might even find this all a bit 'sugary' but I think it manages to avoid this just about.

The centre piece of the album is undoubtedly the title track The Plight Of Lady Oona. This is the only 10 minute plus track and its very obvious that a lot has gone into this as a composition. You hear the mandolins for the first time as well as synths that could have come from some long lost PFM album. This is just utterly gorgeous dreamy melodic symph prog of the very highest order. Anton demonstrates an almost Steve Howe like quality with his use of electric and acoustic guitars. Must also make a special mention for the excellent bass work of Vinnie Puryear and quality laid back drums of Michael Frasche (only appearing on this track). There is a section that could be inspired by Turn Of The Century and although its never a copy I think this is the vibe that Anton is going for. The whole thing is topped off by a guest appearance by Annie Haslam. Her voice still holds up remarkably well and this is the cherry top the icing top the cake. An absolute gem of a track.

The next two tracks are under five minutes long but Anton never veers away from the dreamy mood of the whole thing. I wonder whether he was tempted to throw in an 'up tempo' track to break things up? I guess not! That lovely piano and bass work is still well evident plus the orchestral feel once again. There are hints of some heavier guitar coming in but its kept well in check. The drums get a little busy on Standing In The Rain reminding me of a brilliant Al Stewart track from the 80's called Where Are They Now. Good stuff.

Memoires is a stunning piece opening with acoustic guitar that quite honestly Steve Hackett would be proud of. Actually without being told otherwise if someone played this to me I would just assume it was Hackett. It is that good.

The final track is 8 minutes long and is freak out heavy metal extravaganza full of screaming vocals and fast drumming. Sorry just joking! Of course Anton maintains the mood that he is so obviously focused on. A children's voice and birds twittering and someone gentling tapping. A bit of flute comes into the equation as well. I haven't mentioned the vocals at this point and that is perhaps remiss of me. Anton has a very pleasant voice with a reasonable range and does a good job imparting a good deal of emotion. This last track is maybe the best track vocally and even threatens to get 'heavy' at a certain point. It even goes a little bit dark although nothing too 'scary' unless unicorns and teddy bears give you the willies.

In summation this is one big comfortable sofa of an album. Big cushions and relaxing , ideal listening if you have just been shredded by a Riverside or Mars Volta album.

richardh | 4/5 |

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