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Iamthemorning - Lighthouse CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.01 | 374 ratings

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5 stars 4.8 Stars. Their best album by miles!

Its pretty rare that I write reviews of albums which I have only heard a few times, but I could tell from the first listen they had made a huge leap in quality and consistency from their last two albums, and by the second listen I fully understood just how strong this album is. When I first heard their pre-order track "Chalk and Coal" I was immediately very impressed but also very surprised by how dark and jazzy it was. It did make me wonder if this album would be a big departure from their signature sound, but it turns out this song was the exception and most of Lighthouse follows the successful formula that they created in their debut album.

Now often these days when you hear of a band sticking mostly to their safe territory it is given as a criticism. However with Lighthouse the band have managed to perfect their sound and songwriting to the point that there are virtually no flaws to be found. The hit-or-miss Intermission tracks have been ditched, with each song sounding complete and all directing the listener to the concept of this album, which is about a girl who is fighting mental illness. While there are more jazzy parts to be found here and there, the album for the most part sticks to iamthemorning's greatest strengths, which are Gleb Kolyadin's exceptional piano playing and Marjana Semkina's wonderful singing and vocal control. The songs are short with the longest being only 6 minutes, but they make sure each track has a strong personality and melody.

The album wastes no time getting serious with "I Came Before the Water (Pt.I)" which hits you with intensely emotional vocals and orchestral music to enhance the song. The lyrics make it clear from the start that this album is not going to have a happy ending and to be ready for quite a ride.

"Too Many Years" is quite a grand and dramatic track, with a strong melody that gives way to a quite heavy instrumental towards the end. Much like "The Howler" from their last album Belighted they want to keep the momentum and drama from the opening song going for as long as possible, although it feels far more natural than before. "Clear Clearer" and "Sleeping Pills" are both quieter songs, but still have a lot of subtlety that shows the band's strong songwriting skills. The former song showcases Marjana's hypothesizing vocal arrangements along with clever instrumentation while the latter is the closest thing to classical music on this album.

"Libretto Horror" is the most oddball song on the album and while I completely love it I can see it being a acquired taste for others. Here Marjana shows just how far she can push her vocals with some seriously bizarre and challenging key-changes. These vocals are then played one-top of the other to create some sort of freaky nightmarish atmosphere. Whether you love it or hate it you won't be forgetting about it any time soon!

"Lighthouse" is the longest song on the album and also one of their best songs in general. The first part relies on mostly Gleb and Marjana playing off each other to create a very delicate and beautiful atmosphere. Later on Mariusz Duda joins the band to provide guest vocals that work perfectly with Marjana. While the entire album is fantastic this is part is the biggest highlight and its well worth getting the album for just these few minutes. Perfect.

"Harmony" is the first instrumental on the album and a reminder to people that they are not on Prog Archives for no reason! As this is a instrumental this is where Gleb takes center stage and shows just how great he is as a piano player. His classical training background also clearly comes though here."Matches" maintains the virtuoso piano playing and has Marjana also doing some fast-paced vocal gymnastics. This Prog heavy song also has some quite twisted lyrics to show how the girl's mental state has decline significantly. "Belighted" is a classic iamthemorning song with spiraling vocal arrangements and orchestra like in "Intermission I".

"Chalk and Coal" is as said before quite different to the rest of the album and is the point where the girl's breakdown becomes complete. Its probably the band's darkest song to date and brings back memories of Steven Wilson's Grace For Drowning at its most oppressive and jazzy. "I Came Before the Water (Pt.II)" begins entirely without instruments to put the incredibly bleak lyrics into full effect. The orchestra comes back in as the girl accepts defeat and commits suicide. The band perform the song perfectly, if anything too well as the emotional intensity and bleakness makes the song hard to listen to. The band fortunately decided not to finish the album on such a soul crushing moment and instead use the instrumental "Post Scriptum" to conclude things. This piano driven song reprises the theme of the last song and is very well arranged, being serious but not too dark either.

So to conclude from this long review, Lighthouse is by far their best album and not a great deal off being perfect. Each song is a delight to listen to both individually and as part of the concept album, with the concept itself being very engaging and emotional. They play to their strengths here which is only right as they have found a gap in the music world that nobody else has come close to filling. This for me is THE iamthemorning album and their first 100 % masterpiece. They are also fairly accessible by Prog standards meaning they should have a wide market that will be appealed to this album. Absolutely essential music and the best album I have heard in a good number of years.

LakeGlade12 | 5/5 |


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