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MOONSHINE

Collage

 

Neo-Prog

3.99 | 277 ratings

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UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Itīt very seldom I listen to neo prog albums that I really like besides Fish era Marillion which I absolutely adore and a few other exceptions. Moonshine which is the third album from Collage is one of those exceptions. Itīs a very unique album IMO and even though many of the ideas on Moonshine were also heard on the two previous albums from Collage Basnie and Nine songs of John Lennon the ideas are fully developed on Moonshine and with the massive production and elaborate synth layers this makes for quite an experience in melodic prog rock/ neo prog.

The music is heavily synth layered but the guitar leads from Mirek Gil is also omnipresent throughout the album. On top of that there are some excellent melodic melodies sung by Robert Amirian. Itīs close to pop at times but the music is always done with finesse and attention to detail that you wonīt hear in commercial pop music. The pop moments are only tendencies though and with many of the songs being well over 10 minutes long the structure is not commercial at all.

The album starts with Heroes Cry which is a really excellent song that starts very bombastic and has a nice memorable chorus. In Your Eyes which with itīs 14:04 minutes is the longest song here is a great and very dynamic song. It has subtle beautiful moments and full on symphonic ones. There are many sections in In Your Eyes but everything fits nicely together. Lovely Day is a ballad type song but it never gets long or cheesy for that matter. Listening to the next song Living in the Moonlight for the first time I was sure it was a cover song of an eighties pop hit, but Iīm sure it just bears lots of resemblance to one. Itīs the most melodic and memorable song on Moonshine and even though the cheese factor is pretty high here itīs a great song. The rest of the album continues without much change in quality. All songs are of high standard. One of my few regrets with Moonshine is that the arrangements and the sounds Collage uses are very much the same throughout the album and it makes the listening experience a bit trivial at times. This is not a major problem though and for once I wonīt complain too much about quantity even though Moonshine is a very long album.

The musicianship is outstanding but I have to mention Wojtek Szadkowski on drums as he brings something special to the music. His style is very unorthodox especially when you think of how the drums are generally played in neo prog. I would call him a very busy drummer and that might even be an understatement of his style. He makes millions of different fills and small time and tempo changes that keeps the music exciting. Iīm sure his playing is an aquired taste though, and some might think he is too busy, but I really enjoy his playing.

The production on Moonshine is really unique. Itīs one of those larger than life productions that is so full of reverb and chorus that you think your ears are gonna explode any time when listening. This is a positive remark if anyone should doubt it. Itīs so grand that it sounds like itīs recorded on a mountain. Personally I love that kind of a production and to me itīs an important part of Moonshine.

Moonshine is a really excellent album and I will rate it 4 stars. Itīs a bit too long ( there I did it again! Complained about quantity instead of quality, but I just canīt help it) and had it been a little more focused and cut down just a bit, it might have been a 5 star album, but on the other hand I really like the long songs on the album because itīs here Collage gets to play all the beautiful melodic sections thatīs so enjoyable. Well even though how I see it, Moonshine is a very excellent album but falls short of a masterpiece IMO. Itīs very recommandable though to fans of the neo prog genre and some fans of symphonic prog rock might be enchanted too.

UMUR | 4/5 |

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