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C Sides - Purple Hearts Corner CD (album) cover


C Sides


Crossover Prog

3.48 | 6 ratings

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4 stars My first pleasant surprise this year 2020. Let me start with the résumé right now ... a real prog showpiece is ready to announce, no ifs, no buts. Stunning compositions, hot entertainment, tension, excellent musicianship, emotive vocals. 'Purple Hearts Corner' comes as their fourth album meanwhile, and I dare to say they have reached peak form here. Hailing from Wales the band is driven by core members Allan Mason-Jones (drums) and Martin Rosser (guitars), alongside with Kevin Dawson (keys) as well Allen McCarthy (bass, vocals). Female singer Sian Elson is aboard again, though somehow taking a backseat on this occasion, that said more restrained, providing fine background vocal harmonies predominantly.

You may recall some Magenta relations here and there, yeah maybe, albeit this is rather individual overall. Where the flow appeals, from end to end. And that counts. 'Purple Hearts Corner' is running throughout the wide border area of art and neo prog, though equipped with psychedelic respectively ambient elements too. The album title is pointing to the concept behind, necessarily. The story deals with a B-17 bomber sent to fascist Germany across the English Channel during Second World War. That means reflecting moments of awful fear, pain and tragedy. Now it makes sense if you are recognizing aircraft noises, marching drums and synths howling like sirens within this issue.

Nonetheless, or you may say even for that reason, the frame is set to the benefit of passion and playfullness. They are offering five songs, nearly all are taking the ten minute hurdle with ease. If distributed on different albums every single one on its own would reach for the particular item highlight. Now the plane is starting ... final flight, or not? Into Clouds is mirroring alertness, suspense furthermore - a very cinematic implementation. Concerning the song Bremen one may think of this as the homebase of the famous town musicians with innocence. But the title is target too, and related to the mixed feelings of the bomber pilot regarding his mortal instructions.

There are psychedelic guitars given on Engine Down, which evolves into a thriving groove soon, accompanied by striking riffs. Gripping, unpredictable, the closing title track is meandering as well as rocking through that main uncertainty with ups and downs, plus litte dissonance occuring. The story splendidly set into music. Yep, this is sophisticated melodic prog, stylistically close to The Far Meadow, Red Bazar, The Paradox Twin, if you will need some rough orientation. Considering the conceptual background not an easy case. But the band have succeeded to deliver a really compelling effort, a pleasant relief. Melody, heaviness, catchy repetitive motifs, nice piano lines, samples, all put together with inspiration. Chapeau!

Rivertree | 4/5 |


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