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Elephant Plaza - Momentum CD (album) cover


Elephant Plaza


Crossover Prog

3.93 | 9 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This album started life as long ago as 2006, when Espen Mikarlsen (guitars) and Gilbert Marshall (Magic Pie), electric & acoustic guitars, keyboards, lead vocals, started jamming along to an idea. This led to the song 'Naked', and the idea that possibly they ought to make this into a full project. Recording took place when they had the time, and the opportunity to bring other musicians into the project, but neither could devote as much time as they wished due to other responsibilities (including the ongoing success of magic Pie). But gradually they were getting somewhere, until in 2010 the building where their studio was situated was burned to the ground, and it took until 2012 to get everything sorted and work could commence again.

In 2013 Espen decided that he could no longer contribute to the project, but Gilbert was determined to keep it going to fruition, pulling together a full band that could perform live, and eventually the album was released through Bandcamp in June 2016, as well as being released on CD by Progress Records. I was sent a copy just a few weeks ago, and was somewhat surprised to discover its existence, and I would expect an album of this quality (and especially with the large Magic Pie connections) would have made large ripples within the progverse. But, it's here now, and it has been a joy to listen to. Gilbert has been joined in this endeavour by Kim Christiansen (lead electric & acoustic guitars, vocals), John Kamphaug (Magic Pie, bass, vocals), Olav Rygg (Magic Pie Sound Tech, drums, percussion, vocals), John Petter S'terdal (keyboards, vocals) and Jan-Fredrik Heier (keyboards, vocals) as well as plenty of guests.

As one would expect from an album involving members of Magic Pie, the vocals are wonderful, with great harmonies, and musically this brings in influences from Pink Floyd and The Moody Blues along with great pop sensibilities. There are even elements with female vocals that it sounds as if Lana Lane and Erik Norlander are in the house! This is an incredibly well-polished and accessible progressive rock album, and it never comes across either as a project or something that was so fraught, taking ten years to finally be released. It is something that any proghead who hearkens back to the music that easy to listen to, but never easy listening, played by masters who never see the need to show off, but who can all take the lead when the time is right, will surely get a great deal from. This is a stunning debut, and let's only hope that the now they are a functioning outfit and have it out the way that they get on with recording and releasing another! Superb.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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