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Arlekin - Disguise Serenades CD (album) cover





3.34 | 45 ratings

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3 stars So we finally have Ukrainan Igor Sidorenko's (a.k.a. Prog-Jester) recording project ARLEKIN in our database, deservedly. This recently released album was very long in the making. There was no shadow of a doubt that the artist belongs to the Neo Prog category; the album screams Neo Prog right from the MARILLION-inspired artwork. That band, its earliest era to be more precise, has been Igor's strongest musical influence. He sings and plays all the instruments himself, but don't be alarmed by that. The musical performance and the production are of professional level. Only the vocals I find a bit unsatisfactory.

'The Lost Path' starts gloomly with depressed vocals backed by synths only. "They say come join us - no, I won't." It's a rather long intro before the proper music enters, but the PINK FLOYD -like long instrumental section with soaring electric guitar soli is very enjoyable. 'Dance of the Jester', that contains several changes in tempo and dynamics, shows very clear Script-era Marillion influence. The vocals work better than in the opening track. They resemble not only Fish but also Dave Cousins (STRAWBS), even more than Fish does. But I wouldn't say Igor has the same expressionistic power as those two artists.

'Romance' follows in the similar dark mood. It's a fairly good, economic, 5-minute Neo Prog song, but at this point the album starts to feel a bit single-minded. Just think of Script For a Jester's Tear without the hilarious 'Garden Party' and you know what I mean. The 15-minute epic 'In This Puzzled Roundabout' makes me think of the Marillion song 'Fugazi' (actually I had an idea for a review headliner: "The world is still totally Fugazi"), not that it would musically much resemble it. There's a nice balance between vocals and instrumentalism. The composition, maybe the best of the album, could be compared to some IQ epics too. In my country Finland it's the band AGENESS that most shares the Genesis-originating Neo Prog style of Arlekin. 'Old Father East' is a good instrumental - and I'm really glad that there was one.

Especially for fans of early Marillion this is surely worth checking out. I'm hesitating between three and four stars. The vocals are not quite as good as I would wish, and despite many strong moments the album doesn't quite reach the majestic heights it seems to run after desperately. The air is a bit stuffy, so to speak. As I listened to the CD for the first time there was a silly surprise in the end: after six minutes of silence there comes another 'Dance of the Jester' as a hidden track. Gosh, I don't like hidden tracks that start after minutes of silence in general, and whatever differences those versions have, to me it's just useless repetition. 3 stars rounded down!

Matti | 3/5 |


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