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Iona - Beyond These Shores CD (album) cover

BEYOND THESE SHORES

Iona

 

Prog Folk

3.66 | 48 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I got interested into this band mainly because their bio on PA relates them to "Genesis" and "Yes".

I guess that this is the most MISLEADING bio ever featured here. This is now the third album I am reviewing and the same feeling always prevails. Some pleasant and atmospheric parts, combined with beautiful female vocals.

The band is also releasing ultra-long albums. This one being their longest one so far (around seventy minutes). But don't worry, their next one will be longer and their first live one, will be a double CD set. Some work for me since I review bands chronologically and (almost) completely.

A positive point here is that the wonderful voice of Joanne Hogg is more on the front line than in their previous efforts. But compositions are too mellow, uniform to really raise my interest.

I prefer the neo-prog-folk of "Mostly Autumn" or "Karnataka" than this peaceful music one. "Beyond These Shores" is not a bad album, but it is not sufficiently diversified. This was already one of the major problems with their previous albums. The folksiest one is the instrumental "View Of The Islands". Short, simple, attractive. Even if the we won't get the superb Joanne vocals.

One song is wonderful, absolutely outstanding and the best ever "Iona" composition. A long and complex number full of good rhythm and fully in-line with the bands I have mentioned above. A very good folk-rock song. With dynamics and passion.

Almost neo-prog during the long intro (three minutes), we'll get transported upon the Welsh hills for this beautiful journey. I'm just in love with Joanne's voice during her wonderful part. I just would wish that the band were more "Bird Of Heaven" oriented. It would have been higher rated, that's a given. Melodic vocals, pleasant sax, but more than anything, we will have a great guitar finale. You know, in Josh's style..("Mostly Autumn") hence Floydian.

"Bird Of Heaven" is of course the absolute highlight. And it lasts for over nine minutes. This is a FABULOUS number. I feel like a bird in heaven. Another highlight is "Beach Head". It starts as a pastoral acoustic song and builds crescendo (I really like this musical construction). The finale holds a fantastic sax part. I am not usually extremely enthusiast about sax but with such a break, I can only be VERY respectful.

The title and final track "Beyond These Shores" is a very much ambient song, atmospheric and melodious. Another highlight.

If ever you like sweet and vibrant female vocals, smooth compositions combined with true folkish instrumentation, this album might well be tailored to your taste. It is definitely better than their earlier works and therefore I will rate this album with three stars. But hell! What a long album to review!

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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