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Rousseau - Retreat  CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 48 ratings

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3 stars A step down but still very nice.

Rousseau's second album "Retreat" is a success for the band. With a new guitarist and good reviews from their debut they set about to try and top it. They succeeded in the eyes of some but to me their first remains their masterpiece by a long shot.

"Retreat" is similar symph-rock territory to their first but with some significant changes. First, they unfortunately decided that their already colorful sound needed vocals. This would be fine if the vocals were on par with the band but they are not. Honesty I cringe when they first kick in on the second track. I'm sorry but the vocalist sounds just like the Will Ferrell character (Marty Culp) on "Saturday Night Live" who plays keyboards and sings with his wife (Bobbi Mohan-Culp played by Ana Gasteyer) at various captive audience functions. Thankfully the vocals are present on only three tracks so the majority of the album works anyway. Those three tracks are clearly the worst on the album and don't give me any incentive to check out their next album which I'm sure moves more in that direction. It's like those three tracks are a completely different band and not one you'd want to listen to. Another change is the attempt to make the material more sophisticated and clever. I understand the attempt and yet it is the simple beauty and emotion of the first album that make it special to me. This is still a good album with much to recommend it. There are some gorgeous acoustic guitar pieces. There are beautiful guitar leads and soft keyboard passages that put you right in between Camel and lush neo-prog.

Another great album cover, this time a photo of a cabin on a hilltop which symbolizes the "retreat" we all crave sometimes, though Rousseau warns us to be careful about this in the track "Flight." While we may crave solitude this may prevent us from meeting the friends who enrich our lives. And yet sometimes we need to get away anyway. Get Rousseau's fabulous "Flower in Asphalt" first and if you like that one then proceed to "Retreat."

Finnforest | 3/5 |


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