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Mystery - Lies And Butterflies CD (album) cover

LIES AND BUTTERFLIES

Mystery

 

Neo-Prog

4.07 | 123 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars I enter the first listen of any new MYSTERY album with no expectations. I am always surprised by the rich and consistent sound the band has used over the course of its career. This is the first time that that sound may be feeling a little old, a little tapped out.

1. "Looking For Something Else" (16:54) opens with crowd cheering and clapping before a "door-shutting" noise and acoustic guitar harmonics section and acoustic piano section ensue. It sounds like diddling around on stage while the concert fans empty from the stadium. After about 90 seconds the little impromptu rift is taken over by the full electronic band. Impressive cohesion, however, after another two minutes of this single arpeggio riff being repeated and bashed about, I find myself looking (hoping) for something new, a shift or variation. The music does empty down but flute and piano and acoustic guitar perpetuate the riff while Jean Pageau enters to sing. Piano and acoustic guitar continue to carry "the riff" while the instrumental lineup and dynamics go through some shifts. Chorus. Electric guitar solo. Return to full band and vocal push of "the riff." In the seventh minute things lay back again, though the bass remains thick and there is still an occasional power chord, so that Michel can really sink his teeth into a long guitar solo. It's okay; nothing very new or super-exciting. And yet it continues. For four minutes. Synths take a laid back turn in the lead. When things finally settle down in the eleventh minute, church organ leads us in, but then piano and acoustic guitars take back the lead in a soft, delicate "Confusion Will Be My Epitaph" section over which Jean sings. The King Crimson inspiration continues with flute and Mellotron (making it even more blatant) until things explode into full "orchestral" mode at 13:25. Nice vocal, nice lead guitar solo follow (still following the "Epitaph" melody lines). It's different enough that I can let go of the blatant "lift" of the music. Plus, the players feel so emotionally connected to this section. It's pretty damned good even if it is borrowed. Great drum and bass play throughout. (9/10)

2. "Come To Me" (5:17) sounds too much like a WHITESNAKE song. Too filled with sonic and structural clichés; one or two catchy riffs or chord progressions do not make for a great song. (7/10)

3. "How Do You Feel?" (4:53) pretty chords gently played by multiple guitars and keys set up Jean Pageau for an emotional vocal--which he delivers in spades. Perfect power, perfect melodies, perfect lyrics. Great guitar work in the rhythm and solo departments throughout. A MYSTERY masterpiece. (9.5/10)

4. "Something To Believe In" (7:34) Oh, oh! A Colin Tench song! At least, that's what the opening suggested. The stripped down, country-rock verses bely something a little different but not far off my original impression. Man! Michel St-Pere can play guitar! Maybe even better than Colin could! Drums are a little too busy for my tastes, don't really work in this mix. Electric piano arpeggi segue into a new section with a bit of a classical feel--even guitars and flute maintain that feel. But then a power chord from the electric guitar serves notice of a return to rock 'n' roll. Joe Walsh-era EAGLES come to mind here. (7.5/10)

5. "Dare To Dream" (6:54) Synth-strings note and dated electric piano chords open this slow song before cymbol play and guitars join in to support the vocal. Again, the song stays in such conservative, formulaic territory that I find myself disappointed, even turned off. Great little guitar solo at the very end of the second minute. Both the verses and choruses are failing to bring me in. I'm so sad! Nice instrumental section in the fourth minute and usual great lead guitar solo in the fifth. Sensitive scaled back section in the sixth minute over which haunting synth solos. Vocals return in harmonized multiplicity but they aren't grabbing me! Such ambivalencies! (8.5/10)

6. "Where Dreams Come Alive" (7:26) electric guitar and electric piano arpeggi provide an opening background over which Michel's lead soars for a few seconds before we switch into second gear with chunky plucked bass line and syncopated drumming. The vocals enter over this. It's not working. Guitars and keys join in and still it's not quite clicking on all cylinders. Michel's occasional flourishes on lead guitar are magical but once again they cannot float or fly a poorly constructed ship. I would like to see more future compositions using more of Jean Pageau's flute. (8.5/10)

7. "Chrysalis" (15:08) opens softly before bursting into a long introduction of a theme that feels familiar from one of the previous songs. Things then quiet down in the second minute for some nice acoustic guitar work. A minute of this with support of synth washes and we're finally introduced to the vocal. There's a BLUE ÖYSTER CULT Spectres feel to this one (more specifically, "I Love the Night"). Song builds in the fifth minute and then breaks down for the delicate, heart-felt "Butterfly, spread your wings and fly" section. Then a sudden shift takes us into a heavier, metallic section of power chords, searing guitar, and almost growling vocal narration before Jean's more-projected vocal soars in the foreground. At 8:35 the dominant riff shifts to bridge us to another delicate, dreamy section (though a chunky bass continues at the bottom--as if to remind us that this is a scary story) with nice melodies from guitar and vocal. This is intermixed with alternating returns to the "Godzilla"-like guitar power chords. Even Michel's guitar solo over this heaviness has a Buck Dharma sound and feel to it! The twelfth and thirteen minutes maintain a nice albeit still heavy chord progression beneath which the drummer has some show-off time. Then we shift into a heavy yet full-orchestra feeling final section over which powerful Jean's vocal carries us to the delicate end. (8.5/10)

Four stars; a nice addition to any prog lover's collection (though not as good as some of Mystery's previous releases).

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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