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Land Of Chocolate - Regaining The Feel CD (album) cover

REGAINING THE FEEL

Land Of Chocolate

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.28 | 8 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is the second offering by Land of Chocolate, a band born out of the ashes of Finneus Gauge (which, in turn, was a fractal from first-era Echolyn after its momentary dissolution). Led by John Buzby (brotehr of Echolyn's keyboardist Chris), the band's sound is ver yrelated to second-era Echolyn and Frogg Café, plus touches of Happy the Man and the standards of melodic jazz-rock. The final result is a dynamic mixture of arsty jazz-rock and symphonic prog, translated into cleverly complex yet catchy pieces that avoid over-indulgence in pure dexterity. Due to its precise scheme, the repertoire of "Regaining the Feel" as a whole can be listened to all throughout its sequence in its fluid untiy. The instrumental and vocal harmonies deal with soft dissonances with elegance and a discreet complexity, all of the mperformed in a very solid way. The opener 'Film at 11' has a catchy feel to it, while not falling into the easy-listening category. The same goes for the namesake song, which later on offers a colorful exercise on funky rock with properly inserted progressive ornaments. 'The Pursuit of Happiness' and 'Killing with Kindness' reveal an important portion of the band's most bizarre facet. The former leans toward the jazzy while the latter bears a more patent psychedelic aura, which helps it to absorb and display a harsher overall sound. 'Killin with Kindness' is admittedly one of my definite fave tracks in the album. 'Misanthropic Cattle' goes to introverted places, not being too languid per se but melodic enough as to offer a clear musical portrait of melancholy. The flowing phrases played on guitar create a sort of sonic breeze that effectively surrounds Buzby's singing. 'Counting Sand', not unlike 'Killing...', contains fiery guitar inputs during the hardest passages, while the softer moments create a robust contrast in benefit of the song's inherent melodic richness. Personally, I wouldn't have minded if this one had been longer in order to create an increased sophistication, but this is what it is and it is actually quite fine. 'Red Pill' brings back the melancholy of track 4 with the addition of some hard rocking passages serving as transitional adornments. As a counterpoint, 'Military Mindset' is built on a recurrently syncopated cadence effectively filled by the duelling guitar and keyboard as the track progresses. The instrumental 'Mechanical Pencil' gets started with an evocative classical guitar intro whose last notes give way to the ensemble's full display around the main motif and its subsequent permutations. Another individual gem full of hooks and dynamics in this brilliant album. Finally, the last piece 'Ungrateful' kicks off in a languid atmosphere that sounds intriguing in a subtle way until the aggressive blows on guitar and drum kit gives entry to a moment of sustained intensity. The combination of reflective moods and explicitly intense moments makes 'Ungrateful' sucha convenient closure for "Regaining the Feel". Land of Chocolate's material, while not being as inventive as Frogg Café's nor as peculiarly magical as Echolyn's, surely feels at home alongside with such great compatriots in a good progressive collection. This album is, to say the least, pleasant and enjoyable, and that's what a prog listener will usually get from a few first listens. After that, the appreciation of its melodic sensibility and textures should make them label it as an excellent recording. Well, that was my epxerience...
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |

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