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Moongarden - Songs From The Lighthouse CD (album) cover

SONGS FROM THE LIGHTHOUSE

Moongarden

 

Symphonic Prog

3.54 | 92 ratings

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Finnforest
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Bring back the midnight fog please

In 2004, Moongarden released one of the finest modern rock albums of the 2000s, a stunning and classy album called "Round Midnight" that still gives me chills every time I play it. I love the album and was so excited about the band's future. I admit I was disappointed with "Songs from the Lighthouse." So what happened? To briefly recap "Round Midnight" for those not familiar, it was a brilliant lament on the state of the human condition and loneliness with poetic lyrics and photography. Along with that came a wonderful post-Radiohead/Gabriel sound that was cold and constricting, perfectly conveying the messages of isolation within the beautiful tracks.

So much has changed on "Songs" and not for the better. First, the cool photography and artwork which added such depth to the presentation on Midnight was replaced by the overblown schlockey art of Ed Unitsky, about as subtle as a pink Hummer in a nursing home parking lot. It seems bands now think these kinds of covers are mandatory when the restrained and clever art of the previous was so much more successful. The lyrics have changed from ones I considered quite poetic to ones that now seem full of rather cheesy affirmational cliches not unlike Neal Morse. The entire image of the art, lyrics, and sing-songey choruses make me believe this is a band that decided very consciously to move aggressively to attain the fans of the more popular, mainstream prog bands who shall remain nameless. Nothing wrong with that motive of course except for those who appreciated the previous direction. I found many of the songs to be the shiny happy prog-ballads that make me cringe, culminating in some sugary choruses. Quiet section, neat verse, then the power section with the middle of the road AOR guitar sound over the repetitive vocal parts, finishing with another quiet part. It isn't so much horrible as it is simply predictable and hokey. I guess I consider the entire package to be pretty formulaic which is hard to get past.

But let's look at the good stuff here to give equal time to the positive, as this is by no means a complete disaster. The good parts are those between the chest beating inspirational choruses where there are some nice moments of piano and violin especially. In fact "Flesh" is an instrumental that while short is chills-inducing beautiful with lovely violin over piano. Also notable are the choice electric guitar solos that grace several tracks. I am not sure if Tavelli or Tosi is playing those warm, emotional leads but they are very nice. Some of the bass playing on "DreamLord" was really great too. The new vocalist does a decent job though with these lyrics it is hard. His accent is pretty heavy but that didn't bother me being used to Italian vocals. Good performances aside, the material and presentation leave me sadly missing this boat. As for "Song from the Lighthouse" I can't recommend it but I hope they find the fanbase they are looking for and I wish them success. 5/10

Finnforest | 2/5 |

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