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Welcome - Welcome CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.32 | 33 ratings

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4 stars Where's gone the fragrancy of the fields after a heavy rain?

The Swiss group Welcome's debut is a very bizarre blend of things that work and things that don't in a very very charming way that just can't be matched. But it is certainly one heck of a Symphonic ride. It's Symphonic Rock up to 11.

Many have compared the sound of the band to Yes, especially the early albums, but IMO the sound is way more Emerson-esque with a touch of England. But I guess Welcome are not focusing too much of being a pastiche of any particular band but more of something that is trying to blend a numerous influences into one consistent sound. I like it.

The vocal department here does remind me of You by My Side by Chris Squire, all the way from the high strained harmonies to the accent and color of the voices, which is probably where the associations with Yes are coming from. Except the vocals here are way more oddballish. They're surprisingly not too heavily accented which is a good thing. However, the harmonies sound sorta off when the band tries to layer like 6 voices on top of another (Dirge) or do crazy sea monster voices (Dizzy Tune). The songs, which to me sound the best vocally are the little cute folksy tune Glory with its acoustic pastoral feel and Chain of Days, where Bernie Krauer's (or is it Tommy Sterbel?) vocals are mixed in quite loud so that the main melody line is strong enough to provide an anchor point for the listener.

The instrument that suddenly catches our ears is the Bernie Krauer's Hammond organ that, on this album provides a surprisingly wide array of colors. From lush chords to little stabby sounds. Also, in the keyboardland, we have the Moog/ARP synth that is used for tastefully put together solos and the good ol' M400, used in combination with the piano/organ to add in I guess more colors to the sound (great Flutes on Dirge and sweet violins on Glory). It's a pretty standard Symphonic Rock rig, which simply just works. It's solid and it does the job. Today it might sound a little bit dated maybe.

On the rhythm section, we have Tommy Strebel and Francis Jost doing the drums and bass, occasionally overdubbing some acoustic guitars. The plectrum bass playing on this album is quite good but not too flashy or virtuosic. The drums are played with a lot of oomph and groove but I wouldn't call them killer either. Sometimes the fills are a little sloppy (Dizzy Tune, Dirge) or the rudiments seem kinda uncontrolled (The Rag-Fair). The odd thing is that if you think about it the acoustic guitar work form these two gentlemen is much better than their rhythm section playing. xD They should've sticked to the folk format (Glory) for the entire album. Haha.

And that's Welcome by Welcome. An album with intricate hit or miss vocal harmonies that seems kinda lacking in the drums/bass sections. Despite that, the lush keyboards provide a purely classic prog sound and overall there's this aura of naivety that to me sounds very cool. If ELP and England or even Chris Squire's solo album are your thing and you don't mind another old school prog band that turns the Symphonic level to the max, you should check this one out.

Hrychu | 4/5 |


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