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Amenophis - You and I CD (album) cover

YOU AND I

Amenophis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.55 | 22 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ClemofNazareth
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars It’s easy to be hard on bands that started off with the complex compositions and virtuoso performances that defied pop culture and instead embraced all that makes symphonic progressive rock such a joy to listen to; then later moved closer to more palatable sounds, or abandoned prog music altogether. Amenophis didn’t go so far as to leave their roots behind, but this second and presumably final album is a major departure from what drew me to their first recording.

The lineup is slightly different here with the addition of female vocalist Elke Möhrle, and with Kurt Poppe on keyboards and Rene Kius on drums both replacing founding member Stefan Rößmann. The sound is much closer to neo-progressive with the heavily sequenced synthesizers, simpler rhythms than on the first album, and of course with a lot more emphasis on vocals.

Stylistically this album is a crapshoot. The opening “Dance on the Pyramid” is majestic, keyboard-intensive, pleasant, and unfortunately misleading. The following “Forever Is A Long Time” starts off with a keyboard sequence that reminds me too much of Asia, and guitar work that could have come from Dire Straits. And then the lady starts to sing. I’m sure she’s a nice person and all, but this is pretty close to a new-wave voice, and combined with the already suspect rhythm section, I do believe we have a full- fledged neo-prog tune. “The Key Of Life” is more of the same, but one of the Thompson Twins have apparently taken over on vocals, or at least it sounds like they have.

“Classic Contact” is closer to the sound that made the band so endearing on their first album, but the tempo is much sped up, and the track is really too short to be fully developed.

I’m not sure what “His Special Way” was intended to do for this album. This is a combination of blues, cabaret, and jazz, with none of them being done particularly well.

The next two tracks actually manage to save this album from the cutout bin, in my opinion. “Interludes of Bright Weather” features wonderful introspective acoustic guitar, and strident, layered keyboard progressions that build and bounce around the rhythm section to create a Yes-like feel to them. This is a charming symphonic piece that almost seems out of place, but definitely ranks up with the best of their debut album’s tracks. And “Storm” succeeds despite the vocals, largely thanks to the fantasy- tinged lyrics, lush keyboard backing, and Marillion-like guitars that perform very well in a complimentary role. Both of these are too short, and this would have been a much better album if the first four tracks had been left out and these two had been developed into longer epic works to replace the first half of the album.

“Close To the See” had a chance to redeem itself like “Storm” did, but here the overly clever tempo shifts and cheesy vocals can’t overcome great keyboard and bass work. The closing “Ghostball” teases the listener with a regal feel, but is too short to develop into anything more than a postlude.

It’s really a shame the Rößmann’s couldn’t have stuck together for this second album, although as I understand it Stefan left due to health reasons, so I suppose this couldn’t be avoided. In any case, I’ll give this three stars largely on the strength of “Interludes of Bright Weather” and “Storm”. The rest of the album ranges from one to two stars at best. Only recommended if you are a fan of Amenophis, or are just curious. Otherwise pick up their debut, as that one is far superior to this swan-song.

peace

ClemofNazareth | 3/5 |

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