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Fifth Species - Life In The Punch Line CD (album) cover


Fifth Species


Eclectic Prog

3.74 | 14 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars Most progressive albums require listening to them more than one time in order to be appreciated. At least for me, the releases which I can wholeheartedly embrace at the first hearing are rare. I don't even expect it to be otherwise: after all, complex, packed masterpieces need to be unpacked, and this only happens over time. The 2018 album 'Life in The Punch Line' from the rather-new American band Fifth Species is, however, an exception to this rule. It's both a love-at- the-first-listen record and one that doesn't lose its punch (pun unintended) even after weeks on repeat. Charming, relaxing, and yet introducing varied time signatures and progressions, 'Life in The Punch Line' is quite a successful release that deserves more attention and recognition.

The overall atmosphere of this record can probably be summed up in words such as playful, light, upbeat, 'friendly', even groovy or danceable. Beneath the surface of the gentle, natural songs, however, there are full-blown prog rhythms and harmonies. As mentioned in Fifth Species' biography, the band was largely influenced by the works of Gentle Giant, which is indeed probably the closest of a comparison one can draw. It is a bit folky, a bit jazzy. To me, two elements stand out the most in the sound of 'Life in The Punch Line': the vocals and the keyboards, both supported by skilled drumming. The voices of the Fifth Species members make an interesting blend, rather delicate and smooth on the male side, with the warm, bright, nasal, and distinctive vocals of Kristen Stevenson standing out whether in the lead or the background. The keyboards provide a rich melody for each song, ranging from piano sound to synth effects, to ultimately peak at 'Disparity' and 'Second Home'. It is certainly impressive that the band's leader Jeremy Reiser provides both the keys and the drums, given how developed both of these parts are: certainly makes me wonder how they could manage this distribution during concerts. Despite the Fifth Species' specific style making many of the songs on this album low-key alike, no moment feels weak or boring. There are no grand, bombastic, pompous epics on 'Life in The Punch Line': instead the listener is faced with a collection of light prog/art songs flowing smoothly and lifting moods. The music is paired with quite a cryptic album art, featuring a phonograph, mysterious hieroglyphics or a fish. Although this is an excellent release, it is not essential, which is why I would settle my score around 3.5-4; rounding up to 4, as Fifth Species certainly deserve more appreciation for the fresh blow of air they deliver.

Fifth Species are still very new but they have potential: one that this full album, as well as their newest single 'Tub', well confirm. Excited to hear more from them in the future!

Yo-yo | 4/5 |


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