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Believe - This Bread Is Mine CD (album) cover





3.11 | 67 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars BELIEVE has effected dramatic shifts in each of their 3 studio albums to date. Their debut was an neo grunge like affair, quite unexpected from the man who brought us the lush solos of the COLLAGE classic "Moonshine". Their sophomore effort was a crisp and more subtle production, with wondrous interplay between the members, more room for Satomi's violin, and a willingness to inject variety in the form of sparse but notable flutes and keyboards. The tendency to play close to the RIVERSIDE was somewhat dubious, but it was the Riverside without the growls and PINK FLOYD sans perpetual moroseness. For their third try we knew to expect the unexpected, and Believe has delivered.

A significant lineup shift has provided the impetus for Believe to take it down a notch, more in mood than in tempo. New vocalist "Karol Wróblewski" has a voice that is meant for a more subdued style, but I admit it is somewhat an acquired taste, whereas Tomek Rozycki was just plain likable and adaptable. Karol is gruffer, less dynamic. This could have been compensated but instead the overall production seems muffled, the presence of Andy Jackson as sound engineer notwithstanding. He is also given more in the way of cliched lyrics, some of which choose to reappear later in the disk to make matters worse.

Whereas on "Yesterday is a Friend", BELIEVE balanced creativity and unpredictability with scintillating melodies and unforgettable choruses, here Gil seems to have made the decision not to "go there"....too slowly. This is especially true on two of the longer tracks that would have had a lot more power had they been more succinct - "Tales from Under the Tree" and "And All the Roads". "Darkness" is a harder rocker with a prime riff that is more reminiscent of the work on "Hope to See Another Day", but without a real turning point, which on that album might have taken the form of a wrenching violin solo. The title cut and "Mine" are not even that good, and by this point the use of spoken and whispered vocals, particularly with little cutesy remarks to close a song, effective in small doses, has become more of an irritant.

It's left to the emotionally cathartic ballad "Mother", the cohesive phases of "Problems Rise", the haunting Satomi-dominated "Aa", catchy "This is Life", and the closing folk song "Silence" to carry the torch. I'm not trying to say this is a bad album at all. Believe has staked out a credible niche in neo prog, and most of what's here is an enjoyable if unspectacular listen on its own terms, but my conclusion is that it's not up to the standards of the previous two albums, so I would recommend breaking bread with them first. 2.5 stars rounded up.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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