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Outside In - Karmatrain CD (album) cover

KARMATRAIN

Outside In

 

Crossover Prog

3.66 | 17 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The debut album of OUTSIDE IN from New Zealand is a conceptual work based on Hermann Hesse's famous philosophical novel Siddhartha (which, by the way, also inspired Jon Anderson's rather cryptic lyrics on Yes's classic epic 'Close to the Edge' and was Camel's aborted source of inspiration before they settled on The Snow Goose novella). I have read the book long ago but would I have spotted the literary connection from the lyrics alone? Maybe 'The Ferryman' would have rung the bell, but anyway a patient listener can get a lot from the fine lyrics on this album.

Also musically there are several things to appreciate. The clean vocals of the frontman Mikey Brown are pretty good. I can relate to the previous reviewers's association to Mariusz Duda (Riverside) and I hear a dash of Paul Simon too. Occasionally the vocals are slightly treated in a Porcupine Tree manner but thankfully only a little. The production is very convincing for a debut. On some songs the melancholic feeling is truly beautiful. Can't say the band would sound very unique in these times, but they cannot be blamed of plainly copying any band either.

Being well over an hour long, in many places the album starts to sound a bit too same. For my taste, too much loud guitars (why so many basically similar-styled guitarists in the band?), and I wish there were more of those atmospheric spacier moments. The compositions are suitably tight but in my opinion too vocal-oriented in the prog scale. More often I actually think of this music as guitar-oriented indie rock than as prog. As a 40-minute album Karmatrain would have been very enjoyable. A solid three star album, definitely no less. I do hear a lot of potential and look forward to further releases with hopefully lesser emphasis on loud guitars and with more varied compositions.

Matti | 3/5 |

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