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Believe - Yesterday Is A Friend CD (album) cover





3.99 | 166 ratings

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4 stars I was waiting for this sophomore release from Believe with a certain amount of trepidation, having thoroughly enjoyed their debut and being a big fan of Mirek Gil's guitar skills. I had a hard time comprehending the "grunge" comments from some of the other reviewers but I can state unequivocally that this effort is way "proggier" than their in initial disc, the vocals are much improved and way more polished (no pun intended!), with a more elaborate delivery set in a less commercial musical pasture. The lyrical content remains bleak, dealing again with loneliness, deceit, memories and pain. Most of the new tracks are still in the 6 minute mould but are way more intricate and ornate, "Time" opening up the breach with a superlative melody, great singing and a positively blistering Gil solo that devastates unflinchingly. The dark and brooding "Tumor" provides some shimmering violin courtesy of Satomi, weird goblinesque vocal effects, screeching guitar, whimpering orchestrations and capped off with a sublime lead vocal. Drummer Vlodi Tafel keeps the stitches nice and taut. Some most welcome piano gives this not only prog credibility but also a warmth that is only paralleled by Mirek's delightful propensity for simple and effective notes. Acoustic guitar leads "What They Want", the longest track here clocking in over 8 minutes with sullen simplicity, entirely brooding and overtly melancholic, a lead vocal to gently crawl for and a suave violin foray that squeeze out so many emotions, contrasting with the harsher electric guitar. A delicate flute, a debonair piano and some bass conductors adds some more detailed colorings to the whole. Next up is "Mystery is Closer", with proto-African beats and chanting rapidly evolving into a typical Believe composition, with all the usual suspects in fine form, the memorable chorus is just spell-binding while Gil's growling fretwork rages in the background, dabs of crystalline piano and smoking violin adding to the er. mystery. The instrumental section here has a finely restrained organ solo and a repeat chorus finale. "You & Me" is one of the classic tracks on this offering, a simple prog-pop song full of natural melodic beauty with little trappings featuring a stellar vocal with discreet violin and piano backing, humming backing vocals echoing in the distance, some intricate bass and a fragile, precious, unpretentious Gil solo. Impressive track! "Danny Had a Neighbour" is a tonal departure that needs some time to blossom from its bizarre and rather morbid lyrical content but does feature a soaring guitar solo that ultimately cannot push this into the fabulous. Average. "Memories", on the other hand, is a return to the violin-drenched melancholia that qualifies Polish prog in general and Believe in particular, an ominous feeling of Slavic disenchantment or even "ennui" that is so prevalent in their art. Satomi infuses some serious classical licks, while Tomek Rozycki recalls his better vocals exhibitions (as in "Pain" from the previous album) with a passionate evocation of the pain from the past, this is my favorite track here by far. Beautifully sad as Mirek wails forcefully, I am such a sucker for this kind of music, Pfff! Another winner, "Unfaithful" deals again with a Believe preferred subject matter (Lies) and hence, does not disappoint, a fittingly adroit companion to "Liar" from the debut with strange Gentle Giant like violin spots and some ragingly irate vocal bile from Tomek, odd telephone beeps effects abound in the background. A painful guitar squall ends this stunning piece of expressive loneliness. "Together" is brief ditty about trust and closes up the basic album. My digi-pack version offers up three bonus tracks that are well worth the hunt. The Polish sung and short "I Wish I Could" is a pleasant affair that gently breezes along. "Holy Night" is a gem that deserves lofty praise, all the Believe ingredients are here, an almost Collage-like tune, dealing again with the feeling of desperate solitude on Christmas Eve (a holy night for all Poles), loaded with various effects and some brilliant violin, suave guitar and stellar piano. "Best Wishes for Robert Fripp" is an unabashed tribute to Prog's greatest innovator and it goes way beyond dross outtakes from sessions, a playful instrumental that shows clearly that these are serious proggers and not grunge /alternative wannabes. I Believe ...You should too ....4.5 lonely hunters.
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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