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The Ben Cameron Project - A Cycle Never Ending CD (album) cover

A CYCLE NEVER ENDING

The Ben Cameron Project

 

Crossover Prog

3.96 | 10 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "All alone and longing for another place..."

I read another review for this new album by Australia's Ben Cameron Project and the reviewer cited a few specific criticisms, albeit politely. Said reviewer had some problem with the vocal quality and the composition, as well as the idea of one-man-in-charge albums and the lack of creative diversity it might lead to. While I don't disagree completely with those criticisms I'm choosing to accentuate the positives here, first and foremost, I very much enjoyed "A Cycle Never Ending." While it is true that Cameron is not the world's greatest vocalist, he was just fine for my taste and does a nice job in places of layering the harmonies, his voice somewhat in Gilmour territory (but without Dave's dreamy THC vibe.)

I found this album to be a really enjoyable update in the best of classic, melodic prog rock tradition. They did a nice job recording it as well, it sounds crisp and refined. I disagree with those who rail about originality as the most important factor in music, the idea that new music has to be difficult or groundbreaking or totally unique to be worthy. People should never feel ashamed to enjoy what they enjoy. This album has moments that sound like nods to 70s legends and I would say there is quite a strong Wilson influence as well. Sadness, loneliness, gratitude, hope...I felt many different emotions as this all washed over me. It mattered not that the songs were not trying to reinvent the wheel. It is a successful mixture of taking classic prog rock elements and modernizing the sound for today. For some in our "community" simply playing good music will not be enough to avoid being labelled "retro/rehash" or whatever, for me, good music is good music, whatever the year of release.

Avoiding the obnoxious trend of unnecessary length the album clocks about 50 minutes which feels perfect here. "This is all Illusion" has that majestic/dramatic feel that reminds of Phideaux a bit, a venture!!, with elegant keyboards building throughout and melodic electric guitar leads, finally breaking to a wide open ending where percussion stops, keys shimmer, and all is lightness. A good 12 minute opener. The next track "The Dance of Demons in Disguise" could be an outtake from "The Raven That Refused to Sing." Very Wilsonian indeed in mood and style. Side one's (if I think in vinyl terms) shorter closing track seems to combines Wilson-like vocal harmonies with Floydian acoustic guitars. A strong first half.

Cameron swings for the fences with side two's (again, if vinyl) title track being a side long epic, a bold 24 minute long journey. A glorious beginning with Charlotte Jaffer's cello! Numerous sections of acoustic and electric goodness follow. As side long epics go does it match the thrills of my favorite Topographic Oceans epics? It does not. Not many do. But it is a wonderful modern take on the classic spirit and I do think many fans of efforts like Phideaux and Moongarden are going to dig this. The music does not try to jar you or be edgy, the songs are about great melodies and heartfelt playing. All of the musicians playing are true professionals who deserve hearty applause. I'm quite bullish on this guy and the future potential. 7/10.

If you enjoy this album be sure to look for the gorgeous video they made for the track "Colour in the Sky."

Finnforest | 4/5 |

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