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Art And Illusion - Monolithos CD (album) cover

MONOLITHOS

Art And Illusion

 

Eclectic Prog

2.51 | 3 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
3 stars This defunct Italian band was unfairly maligned in earlier reviews, and deserves the benefit of a contrary opinion. I can certainly understand how such buttery Neo-Progressive pop music could leave a sour aftertaste, but it's a reaction I would strongly (and respectfully) disagree with.

A lot of Neo-Proggers have used middle-period GENESIS (circa 1974-1976) as their role model. Now imagine a band shaping its musical template around milder Genesis tunes like "More Fool Me" or "Ripples", and you'll have a pretty clear idea of the Art and Illusion aesthetic. This is music with no sharp corners or acute angles, and as such would hardly appeal to fans conditioned more to Avant-Prog or Post Rock.

What's immediately apparent in the band's sophomore album is the professional production job, a vast improvement over their rough-around-the-edges 1990 debut. The addition of an actual drummer must have provided a real shot in the arm, and the entire album shows an increased confidence stemming no doubt from a more stable line-up of musicians.

It's true a few songs are awfully conventional (or conventionally awful: listen to the milquetoast M.O.R. schmaltz of "Now or Never", something even PHIL COLLINS at his most commercial wouldn't have touched with a ten foot pole). And the band certainly doesn't sound even remotely Italian. But at its best ("Walking Behind the Sad Theatre"; "Traveling With Mouthpiece the Elf"; "The Stone") the music has an understated emotional appeal that sits easy on the ears.

Art and Illusion were never going to revolutionize modern music. But undiscriminating Progheads will find enough here to warrant further exploration, and the band makes it easy by allowing free downloads from their website of just about everything they ever recorded. Maybe they figured no one would have a chance to hear any of it otherwise, or maybe their motivation was (admirably) never geared toward a profit margin. Either way this is a band entitled to a fair hearing.

Neu!mann | 3/5 |

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