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Little Tragedies - Chinese Songs - Part II CD (album) cover

CHINESE SONGS - PART II

Little Tragedies

 

Symphonic Prog

3.33 | 18 ratings

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avestin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I don't know Little Tragedies too well, but I did follow some of the relative hype surrounding their albums New Faust and Six Sense. I only heard the former and liked it quite a bit with its heavy keyboard driven prog. Regarding Chinese Songs, I have read good reviews of Part I and mixed reviews of this album, Part II. I decided to give it a go nonetheless. I have to say that this album delivers some great dynamics, spacey-symph parts which flow great and really clicked with me. The first song, Letter To My Wife, starts with a tune that has a nice ring to it, but nothing too interesting (somewhat made me feel it's a Russian folk tune) but then in middle track they go on to a higher level, unleashing their abilities and playing their hearts out. The second track will seem as filler to some, but it's a nice quiet tune. With the third song, My Heart is Sad, Thoughts in Dismay again we have a nice and sad tune opening and then giving way to keyboards and the rest of the lineup for them to develop this and add an emotional instrumental part leading to a small climax. However, this song does not come out well for me; it feels like some idea that didn't develop as it should have. Vernal Wind, Road Dust has a wind-instrument sounding keyboard playing what might sound as a south- American tune. The melody is quite nice, but again, not enough is done to develop what could be so much more. I'm saying this based on what I heard in New Faust and maybe this is not fair, so take this into account if you know the band's other output and know this not to be the case. Then we come to My Century's Events are Worthless, which starts with a powerful riff (powerful in this album's standards). There's a nice tune that keyboards paint, backed by the energetic guitar. It then seems to fade away into space but it quickly recuperated by great guitar riffing and keyboards to give the illusion of a prog-metal song. This is what I expect these guys to do. They show their talent here, though not all of it; this is the ground they should build on and not settle for what came before this song. There is great playing in here (even made me think of Dream Theater), nice development of some of the ideas coming up in the song (though not enough) but given that this is the only song on this album that reaches this level makes me wonder what is it that they set out to get with this album. However good this track is, I actually think that the opening track is better in structure since it showed a more coherent form and aim, plus I really digged the instrumental segment. The closing song, The Boat by the Lake is Only for Three, despite being long, and thus have a potential for developing interesting musical ideas, fails to do so. It's a silent track that I can't figure why they thought it should be featured on the album and if so, why such a long track. Not that it's a bad song, but there's nothing too interesting about it, not really fitting the rest of the album's atmosphere too well (though I know other albums that do this and like it, but here I don't think it is a wise choice).

There is a melancholic feel governing the sound of this album. As if life, however good it gets, can't evade this gloom that seems to pervade everything. To compare to New Faust, I feel as if there is less experimentation or maybe less developing of ideas, not enough "progressivity".

One thing must be said about the language; I for one have no problem with non-English lyrics and even prefer it that bands sing in their native tongue. However I never liked the sound of the Russian language; despite that, it works fine for me and I have no problem listening to them. But for those of you who can't tolerate anything not sung in English (and I've met some people like this), then you should take that into account with this album.

To sum up, this album has some decent and pleasant songs on it, but overall I'd say this is not a release I'll be going back to listen to in the future too often if at all. I don't find it memorable or particularly

avestin | 3/5 |

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