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Iamthemorning - Lighthouse CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.01 | 372 ratings

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4 stars In describing Iamthemorning's latest offering, my esteemed PA colleague and fellow reviewer Windhawk (love that name!) was, as per his usual self, bang on once again, certainly in terms of prog-rock analysis and its lover, prog appreciation! His thoroughly novel descriptive of where prog could go, a future yield in unchartered territories and remaining fresh and vibrant, would be by incorporating rock into classical music and not vice versa where many a times it has occasionally succeeded (the Beatles, the Moody Blues, Procol Harum) and yet many failed (Ekseption, Deep Purple, ELP) , his final quote of ' rock music making its way into more of a classical music oriented context to be interesting' makes utter sense . A clear moment of un-silent lucidity.

Iamthemorning did not hit me until now, a strange thing for me who loves woman vocals but I was not convinced yet to push the send button. Another PA comrade, BrufordFreak made true on his moniker and pounded a freaked out positive review that really blew my Calvin Klein socks off. And, upon his moment of lucidity, I took the plunge. A prog universe where piano and voice reign supreme needs to be real damn good to pass the grade, clear melodies, stunning technique and voice modulation as well as some serious passion is what is needed and delivered effortlessly, in spades! Both angelic vocalist Marjana Semenka and the genial pianist Gleb Kolyadin simply sparkle in their respective realm, and then consider (another clincher for me) the presence of Mariusz Duda, Colin Edwin and Gavin Harrison to bolster terrific melodies and impeccable classical-prog with lush orchestrations that would make the La Scala di Milano tremble. There are plenty of dense moments that can and will enthrall and transport the listener to some faraway perspective, both exploratory as well as comfortable.

The waters splash lustily, crashing on the jetty that guards the lighthouse, the beacon of hope and salvation for all the errant ships in the night. Through the opaque mist, the billowing emotion rolls forth like a sonic fog of impenetrable allure, gently propelled by glittering piano runs and guided celestially by a voice that both appeases and bewilders. At times, the arrangements are haunting to the point of soporific ('Sleeping Pills'), occasionally cleverly experimental ('Too Many Years') and even outright enigmatic ('Clear Clearer'), always showcasing Edwin's discreet rumble and Harrison's deft stick work, amid the eclectic keyboard-driven sprawl that navigates seemingly without any effort.

The title track 'Lighthouse' is a case in point, armed with a classical melody festooned with gilded beauty, Marjana's poignant voice spread between piano keys, all extremely restrained and unrushed, slowly building catharsis , forcing attention onto the melancholic lyrics. When the languorous voice of Riverside's Mariusz Duda holds hands with Marjana's, an aching sense of cleaning purification takes root, weaving into each other with swan-like grace. On the instrumental 'Harmony', a true highpoint is reached, a savvy and detailed work of pastoral beauty, where a flute and a marimba-like sound roost, morphing into a strong grand piano lead that shows off Gleb's considerable classic training. Gavin does his jazzy stick work quite well for a 'rock' drummer (lol) , as guest guitarist Vlad Avy shoots off an electric guitar salvo that is brief but to the point. On the terrific 'Matches', you kind of imagine Kate Bush with a piano player, in a jazzier environment that to my utter surprise, invites an electric piano to take the reins briefly, only for the grand to reappear and reinforce the initial fire. Simple and beautiful.

Even more celestial is the track 'Belighted',(interestingly enough: the title of their previous opus), a sweet fluffy cloud of orchestral passion that anesthetizes the soul into a sense of rapture and epiphany. Almost medieval at first with harp and glockenspiel carrying the speckled voice to uplifting pinnacles, then the sweeping orchestral adornments add the necessary 'grandeur' to the entire experience. Yes, this should have been longer and more developed but who cares, it's gorgeous on its own! Its companion piece (or so it seems), 'Chalk & Coal' has almost a torch singer quality, with whispered voices and a forlorn trumpet blaring its painful lament, a soundtrack to some theater play in some faraway time and place, oblivious to today. Jangly piano and screeching lead guitar season the dish with peppery passion, but the sad trumpet shrieks on, unrelenting as Gleb adds some jazzy piano fills. Oh yeah and Gavin does his jazz thingy again (I bet he was smiling just like Colin always does). Truly sensational.

A reprise of the short overture comes in the form of 'I Came before the Water 'part2', Marjana's voice impossibly high and yet precise, gussied up with massive orchestral decorations, while 'Post-Scriptum' is exactly that, a fitting and flattering finale to a masterpiece of modern prog music, what with Colin Edwin's rubbery bass guiding the road ahead like a lighthouse (hmmm), slick drumming, slicker piano and total bravura.

The artwork is stunning, the production flawless, the playing beyond class. Something clicked and my prog vessel will not crash on the rocky grove, as I have seen the bright light through the fog. Thank you , my dearPA colleagues for being my guiding light.

4.5 beacons

tszirmay | 4/5 |


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