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No Name / The No Name Experience - 20 Candles CD (album) cover


No Name / The No Name Experience



3.36 | 18 ratings

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4 stars Here is a fresh new approach to NO NAME's repertoire, plus a couple of previously unreleased tracks. It should appeal to fans of PENDRAGON, ARENA and above all FISH- era MARILLION. If you're not into neo-prog, perhaps you'd best skip the review, as this album embodies everything one expects from classic neo-prog: strong melodies, shamelessly infectious choruses, a highly emotional vocalist, cascades of synth arpeggios ala Clive Nolan, solid guitar chops ala John Mitchell, and a no-nonsense rhythm section that deftly complements the band's musical portrait.

It is hard to imagine a more mature NO NAME album: knowing their repertoire, I sense that every detail, every meter on this album has been perfected to a "T". Without losing their original soul, the old tunes have been carefully reworked and brought to the next level. I definitely hear more meat to the guitar play and more muscle to the rhythm section. The bass playing shows restraint and applies the punches where it counts. I also hear more adventurous keyboard flights that I am used to with NO NAME. The addition of a sax solo on "Broken Heart" totally transforms the track, and the eerie bagpipes on the anthemic "Battlefield" elicit a Celtic call-to-arms that is unique for this band (yes, the gents from Luxembourg have hired the services of a professional bagpipe player via their British embassy). And last but not least, the album boasts a production quality Alan Parsons himself would be proud of. Moreover, the quality of the tracks seems to increase as the album unfolds: tracks 6 to 12, for example, are pure ear candy. All in all, the main feeling that pervades the album is one of triumph, joy and elation so cynics: you've been warned :- ).

Why not a full 5 stars? Oh dear, this is where it truly breaks my heart : Patrick Kiefer's vocal delivery is so heartfelt, yet I wish he would modulate his voice a bit more; I find a sameness in his pitch that gets to me after a while ? please note that this is a highly subjective opinion which you may not share. The album still deserves no less than 4.5 stars in my books.

I strongly recommend "20 Candles" to those of you who already own NO NAME's other albums or who would like to get to know them. Far from a "Best of"compilation, this is a carefully planned project from a band celebrating 20 years of playing prog together in the best way they can think of : by offering their fans the crème de la crème of their repertoire in the form of 12 super-polished, scrumptious little musical nuggets. A very classy album from a very classy bunch of guys indeed.

Hibou | 4/5 |


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