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Groovector - Enigmatic Elements  CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.56 | 20 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars While GROOVECTOR's debut was like MIKE OLDFIELD viewed through the lens of 24 hour darkness, and pretty commendable as such, their follow up shoots off on an almost orthogonal trajectory, while still remaining decidedly progressive and engaging.

One of the first surprises is the inclusion of vocals, albeit sparsely, which is good because the lyrics are somewhat trite, but their paucity allows them to be perceived more as mantra than dogma, which suits the arrangements just fine. The early CAMEL influence felt on the debut remains in the keyboards of "Remember", but the organ break in "Never Growing Old", my favourite cut, is out of PROCOL HARUM's playbook. A brief piano interlude is followed by a full on elegant melodic lead solo by Rauli Viitala, who has begun the tune with strummed guitar. The album continues strongly with the mystical "First Flakes", just Risto Salmi's saxophone over expressively plucked acoustic guitar, with occasional wistful keyboards. It leads expertly into "Your Light", which is a haunting song in which the mellow vocals alternate with more saxophone, but Teemu Niemela's bass actually overtakes the lead spot and really makes the cut.

For the rest of the album, the group changes direction again, almost as if they didn't have enough compatible material for one album, but at least they finally live up to the jazz/fusion classification, and I'm sure those with more knowledge of the field could site myriad influences, but I keep thinking of some of Andy Latimer's workouts on "Rain Dances"., especially on "Nordic Elements". The title track has a defining melody that I feel I have heard before but can't place. For those into the fusion style, the album closer will probably be the highlight as it features a strong beat, bass, electric piano, and, finally, some ripping lead guitar and sax. It isn't my thing, and it really doesn't play well off the style of the first 4 tracks, or vice versa, which ultimately dampens the overall effect of the album, whatever your preference.

The group's switchover between "side" 1 and 2 is nothing if not enigmatic, which is perhaps what they were getting at, and I adore the first segment, but they seem to have eschewed the most elementary need for cohesion. Still, if you are a fan of both styles and find transitions to be overrated, you should add another star.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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