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Yesterdays - Saint​-​Exup​é​ry álma CD (album) cover

SAINT​-​EXUP​É​RY ÁLMA

Yesterdays

 

Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 41 ratings

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StDavis
5 stars I am usually trying to avoid bold statements, but this needs to be said: Yesterdays is better than ever, it's their most symphonic prog offering to date and for me it's one of the best prog albums of 2022 (if not my personal nr. 1!). With that out of the way I can go on with my impressions.

Their last album Senki madara took me by surprise with their take on traditional Hungarian folk songs turned into majestic progressive rock. But this time they went full prog with a strong and beloved concept: Antoine de Saint- Exupéry's The Little Prince. Such a good topic writing about. I know it's not the first prog album on this theme, there was GAZPACHO's take with their wonderful Tick Tock record (which is also very good). Yesterdays' version is about Exupéry's plane crash in the desert and all those thirsty hallucinations, struggle, mirages and the genesis of the Little Prince story, showing similarities between the stages of suffering, fear of death and the storyline of the book. They took inspiration from Saint-Exupéry's short stories, like the Night Flight, so there's more insight about the author's state of mind in it.

The booklet is beautiful, photos of things left in the desert, old Leica camera, a notebook with the story, an empty flask, a knife, a compass. The lyrics are in Hungarian, but there's a short introduction in English to guide the reader about the storyline.

The influences are pretty obvious, we already knew that Yesterdays love YES, but the guitar sounds will make you think of STEVE HOWE in a heartbeat... the good old CLOSE TO THE EDGE sound and HOWE's Stratocaster sound from ABWH (right in the first song: Rajzolj át). The bass guitar sound is screaming their appreciation of Mr. CHRIS SQUIRE. I can even put my hands on SQUIRE's FISH OUT OF WATER sounds during the first track, right after the RELAYER-inspired pre-chorus with guitar swells and amazing vocals from Stéphanie Semeniuc. This is a nice example how not to just simply copy your influences, but taking them to some new and original musical territory. I'm loving these moments and somehow I have the feeling that Yesterdays sounds like YES more than they did on their last few albums.

I am very much into long epic compositions. On this album there are a few epics, but the Esőtánc (Raindance) is the longest, over 20 minutes, is my favorite progressive rock epic from the last 15-20 years. It has everything you'd want in this genre: epic intro, returning themes, rich vocals (even a vocal fugue!), the richest instrumentation you can think of, beautiful vintage sounds, flowing composition without empty, filler or over-repetitive parts, flutes (of Gábor Kecskeméti), mellotrons. A true time-travelling experience with YES, GENTLE GIANT, ELP and GENESIS moods. And might be the most interesting thing: this epic is a study how to use the well known building blocks of prog without any direct cliché and in the same time keeping the integrity of the band's original sound. A nice study in symphonic prog for sure.

Ma minden érdekel has the magical chord from The BEATLES' Hard Day's Night, and after that they go to a JELLYFISH / SUPERTRAMP territory in style, just before the guitar/flute solo part which reminded me of THE FLOWER KINGS, Roine STOLT's UNFOLD THE FUTURE-era wah-wah guitar solo sound. Ákos Bogáti-Bokor is moving effortlessly in 70's progrock guitar universe. And at the end they are quoting CLOSE TO THE EDGE with a symphonic orchestra (if you listen carefully when the flute enters the last part).

Finally let me tell you a bit about the exceptional SOUND of this album. I am writing this with confidence: the mixing and especially the mastering's quality of this record is a true trip to audiophile territories. Fantastic dynamics, with the most expansive sound-stage you can imagine. No loudness war, no heavy compression. And coming from a home studio from Romania/Hungary... Well, hats off!

Saint-Exupéry álma (Saint-Exupéry's Dream) is one of the strongest prog albums of 2022. I hope it will bring this band the well deserved appreciation. This is why I am giving five stars, we need albums like this in the future. Warmly recommended for every symphonic prog fan. 

StDavis | 5/5 |

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