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Like Wendy - The Storm Inside  CD (album) cover


Like Wendy



3.70 | 47 ratings

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5 stars "The Storm Inside" is Like Wendy's debut and remains an oft revisited hour long escapade that I generally listen to in the colder Canadian months, as the summer fades into bleak melancholy. Bert Heinen is a multi-instrumentalist who excels on both electric and acoustic guitars, masters various keyboards from synthesizer, piano, organ and mellotron, lays down some supportive bass and leaves the drums and other programming to Marien. He wears his influences clearly with massive doses of early and mid-Genesis, Moody Blues, Tangerine Dream when "C-quenz" synthing and even hints of Roxy Music (in terms of pained vocals and clean Manzanera-toned blitz guitar solos). This is not complex stuff but the constant use of lead guitar takes this into a more symphonic universe, because classic Neo this is not. "Blue Velvet Skies" immediately lays down the style, wrapping textured keys, harpsichord patches swirling with synth waves over a vocal line fueled by fervor and a huge guitar-led melody that implies sympathy towards the Hackett school of sustained notes. "Another Day" is a sad 10 minute + four-part epic that gently evolves from an extended lament with gull shriek guitar, a plaintive voice uttering all the grief of the universe to a second part with an atmospheric synth solo intro that builds into a fanfare like symphony, full of hope and begging for "One More Chance", unleashing a monstrous guitar journey that fades into the night. "Falling Star" is a fragile, quivering and mournful vocal, escorted by twanging 12 string facades laced with lush orchestrations, a striking short ditty that hits deeply. The magnificent "Birth" is another 10 minute adventure, gorged with suavely stretched leads, whistling synths, delicate acoustic work and more of the same impassioned vocalizations that reach, claw and grab your attention, not exactly Pavarotti in terms of technique but fully loaded with genuine angst. "Prince X" is a succinct resumé of what makes Like Wendy tick: a colossal theme loaded with spirit and drenched in melancholia, more ringing arpeggio guitar ornaments and an overt "Abbey Road" theft that can only make you smile in admiration (if you are going to pilfer, then steal the best) and combined with an insane 6 string sortie. The title track is well over a dozen minutes of angry despair, submerged in despondence, until the mood starts to sizzle thanks to a cascading synthesizer solo that would make Banks blush with sheer envy! The lyrical content gets pretty heavy "I never saw the miracle, so sure I'd die, I never saw a broken heart before you cried, through the tears of stolen time". Only another undulating guitar showpiece can lay this one to rest, a truly masterful performance. "Never Abandon" offers strength through calm faith, flute patches keep it all pastoral where a bluesy Gilmourian rip vies with sweetly buzzing synths, and nice unison work to close it off, drums bashing away. The final marathon is an additional 10 minute sucker, "Shine on Memory" focuses on Heinen's very personal and touching poetry. "There never is a future, there always is a past and when the pain runs through, there'll always be a void to pass. The dreams we have gathered before the die is cast remain to be unanswered 'til they drift away at last, Shine on memory, shine on me...", The powerful riffs that accompany these solemn words have the effect of wrenching the most inner pains out of their hiding and providing an immense sense of relief and gratitude for their imminent liberation. That's why sad music is so intense. That is why Like Wendy means so much more to me than just casual "neo-prog". Most of you may/should rate this 4 stars but I must shed FIVE unconsolable tears.
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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