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RPWL - Start The Fire Live CD (album) cover





3.69 | 46 ratings

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4 stars I get really picky with live albums especially when I have the ingrained feel of the studio album firmly implanted in my memory banks and the concert setting is not as proficient. Certainly masterpieces like Porcupine Tree's Coma Divine, Grobschnitt's Solar Musick, Hawkwind's Space Ritual and Wishbone Ash's Live Dates are not always a common occurrence (even in our techno-not-so- perfect world). In RPWL's case, this massive live memento provides the platform to showcase a darker, more elusive mood, knowing that they could have easily opted for a more sterile (read= more accessible) sound. There is an underlying grit as they polish off extended versions of their repertoire (early Floydian stylistics with latter Eloy-like flourishes) and it works! It remains my favorite RPWL album and by far. The recently penned "Sleep" is harder-edged than the glossy studio version, same as with the follow up "Start the Fire" which launches forward with a hoarser vocal from Yogi Lang and hence, rocks more convincingly , kissed off by a rousing organ solo ramming through the theme . "Who Do You Think We Are" is their rather clever wordplay on being a PF cover band, complete with an outright Waters melody/chorus that would make the wall crumble in shame, growling bass forward and massed vocals combining to give Kalle Wallner's guitar to roam a tad in the finest "bones by the fire" tradition. "Day on My Pillow" is remolded into an undemanding procession that shows off the truer ambitions of modern psychedelia, paying homage to the past yet keeping it simple with a puerile melody that one can hum to, if needed. Some organ, guitar twanging in the background, peeling off a countrified solo that is quite amazing, really! A "looking better in your wardrobe" nod to Genesis does this piece proud. "Roses" is a masterful progressive pop song that features Ray Wilson (who sang the studio version as well!) and in the livelier setting, this one really blows like a gale storm in the South Atlantic, with the entire band kicking it up a notch while Wilson smokes the microphone with a howling vocal delivery that trembles with authenticity. Can't help humming along to this one, guv! Wallner unleashes his fingers with impassioned restraint, preferring the solemn rhythm and then exploding in ecstasy. A highlight reel track, to be sure. To add even more oomphian bravado, Wilson stays on to sing "Not about Us" , one of the better tracks off the much-maligned Calling All Stations album, a confident take on a sublime melody with valuable and meaningful lyrics , certainly far from a standard twice-licked pop candy. "The Gentle Art of Swimming" is a track off the "Opel" album and suggests a deeper dirge that gives Wallner, drummer Mueller and keyboardist Jehle some breathing room to roam into swirling sonic realms, whistling synths leading the cavalry charge and combine with the guitar attack to seek out new dimensions. There is a Manfred Mann-like synth torture that is quite breathtaking and when Lang bellows again, this one really gets quite exciting. The copious applause only seals the deal. "Wasted Land" resorts to more hymn-like choruses, something like a proggier U2, what with that chugging guitar and relentless pounding plowing mercilessly ahead. Love that rolling bass and another colossal synthian delight! Ach, du! "Crazy Lane" as the title implies is straight out of the Floyd kitchen, more of a tribute meddling song that anything else and it does even proclaim otherwise. Honest and fragile, when do you get lyrics like "Don't give up because love will find a way" in your daily prog ration? "Trying to Kiss the Sun" ends up side one, not one of my fave tracks anyway. The second CD shows the band in complete control with the great "World Through My Eyes", a glassy, wuthering epic that resonates deeply within the moodier realms of psychedelia that conjures up images and sounds of deep galactic travels, the synthesizer adventure is inspired pushed along by rousing organ in true psych tradition. The guitar spotlight is spellbinding, slowly twirling in apparent frenzy, Wallner intensifying his sustained fury with a deft "maitrise". This is pure genius that I can only applaud even though I am not IN the audience. Then we plunge into the overt Floydian section, first an early Syd Barrett classic "Opel", complete with that brooding madcap laugh and bruising playing by all, the early Gilmour-era and masterfully expressed and outright jewel "Cymbaline", a clamorous 15 minute travelogue and finally, my all-time second fave PF song a seven minute version of "Welcome to the Machine" (First being "the Great Gig", for those who are curious!). Nearly 23 minutes of pure bliss that would make Waters drool and contact his barristers! What a momentous ride, worth the price of the album alone! Sit back and let it glide??.. On the first , when bassist Chris Postl winks at the organ, the mood dives into the Hendrixian assaults of Herr Wallner, careening, wrenching, thrashing and howling like some untamed Comanche mustang, this you got to hear folks, Phew!!!!!! Incredible and intense. This is what Space/Psych is all about, kids, just a modern exam played by modern students of an old, underappreciated Floyd classic. The final six string sortie is psyche blowing. Machine is very married and virtuous towards the original, a tad harsher perhaps which gives it a doom-laden feel as opposed to the studio original's glossy sheen. "I Don't Know" is a catchy shorter piece a brief reprieve before the final hurrah, the epic and signature farewell " Hole in the Sky", their finest piece off their debut disc containing a majestic main theme, a graceful vocal and a scintillating guitar-infested chorus and a standout track on its own. A bonus unreleased full version studio track is the cherry on the cake, "New Stars are Born" is a 12 minute romp that has all the usual suspects firmly in place, slowly blooming into another psychedelic journey into the deeper regions of the universe. As masterful as the previously named live juggernauts, perhaps not, but close. 4 lit matches
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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