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Different Light - Binary Suns (Part 1 - Operant Condition) CD (album) cover


Different Light


Crossover Prog

3.76 | 102 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars As the golden age of prog drifts on past the 50 year mark of its existence as a subgenre of rock music, the longing for the classics seems never-ending with many a band offering upgraded retro sounds to satisfy the craving for the stylistic approach propagated by all the prog gods of yesteryear however as we enter the third decade in the 21st century even the 90s revival era has garnered a nostalgic longing with some modern bands looking to that second coming for inspiration rather than mining the 60s and 70s. One such band is DIFFERENT LIGHT strangely enough actually formed all the way back in the island nation of Malta in 1994 by Trevor Tabone (vocals, keyboards), Mark Agius Cesareo (guitars), Richie Rizzo (drums) and Trevor Catania (bass).

The band released it's first album 'All About Yourself in 1996 and then toured extensively through Malta and even supported ex-Marillion superstar Fish but after the release of another EP the band called it quits in 1999 and presumably never to be heard from again but after several years in musical limbo, Tabone moved to Prague in the Czech Republic and reformed the band in 2008 with Hynek Kocourek (guitars) and Petr Lux (guitars) along with Daniel Charron (drums) and Premek Matejovic (bass), This lineup released the album 'Icons That Weep' and then wouldn't be heard from until 2016 with new bassist Jirka Matousek and a new album titled 'The Burden Of Paradise.' Having found a stable lineup the band managed to make a dent in the prog underground and stuck it out with the same lineup with the exception of newbie drummer David Filak to craft the followup BINARY SUNS (PART 1 - OPERANT CONDITION) that his the market in 2020.

Having formed in the 90s Tabone never moved on from the classic symphonic and neo-prog sounds of the 90s therefore out of all the new styles of prog that have emerged in the last twenty-something years, DIFFERENT LIGHT sounds as if it still exists in the 90s along bands like The Flower Kings, Neal Morse, Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Glass Hammer. On BINARY SUNS the band has developed a fully formed example of what i call flower prog, that symphonic rich happiness inducing prog that many find ecstatic and other the epitome of prog cheesiness. The sunny side of prog this is complete with cheerful melodies, neo-prog guitar wailing and never-ending piano runs that evoke all the aforementioned 90s classic symphonic prog acts, in fact Trevor Trabone's vocal style reminds me often of Neal Morse and a few times even evokes a dead ringer for Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon!

BINARY SUNS runs just shy of the 57 mark and features six tracks, three of which are composed of subunit suites in the form of proggy excess with the sprawler-in-chief title going to the 21 minute 'Spectres and Permanent Apparations.' The opening 'Amphibians' immediately established this album as some sort of long lost 90s recording session held back for two decades with cheerful piano melodies accompanied by atmospheric symphonic runs. The immediate connection to REO Speedwagon as some of the piano progressions sound right out of the classic 80s REO playbook. Imagine 'I Can't Fight That Feeling' only teased out into a Neal Morse / Spock's Beard prog behemoth and you pretty much get the gist of this one. This is particularly true of the track 'Two Faces.' Expect major chord prozac type prog for the entire run similar to bands like Moon Safari and any Neal Morse project and you'll pretty much get the gist.

Overall this is a pleasantly performed album that offers an authentic retro approach to the 90s symph- / neo-prog bigwigs but admittedly this is not my favorite style of prog and DIFFERENT LIGHT belies its moniker and really isn't very DIFFERENT at all. This by-the-numbers 90s symph prog just really doesn't have much to offer in originality or taking this specific musical style into new arenas. Perhaps the lapse in time didn't close a certain chapter in the book but i would think by 2020 that a band that clearly has a firm command of the neo-prog scene could muster up a little bit of music magic in the creativity department. Personally i'd just rather listen to the influences that experience this one again. For those who can't get enough neo-prog, this will surely please but for yours truly i'd rather investigate bands with more inspiration beyond hero worship.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |


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