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




Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 41 ratings

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4 stars I discovered Yesterdays four years ago on Bandcamp and since then I dag deep into their musical catalog, so I was aware of Saint-Exupéry álma's arrival. I'd say this album is the storm after the calm. The previous album Senki madara was a beautiful, gentle release with cello, string quartet, guest singers singing traditional Hungarian folk songs with symphonic prog arrangements, but now we can witness a more powerful, more progressive side of the band and it is to my liking.

The story of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was a nice choice building a concept album around it. MIKE RUTHERFORD wanted to do it, GAZPACHO did something like this with it and now Yesterdays are here with their interpretation in the good old symhonic prog tradition.

For those who don't know Yesterdays yet, they are heavily inspired by YES, GENTLE GIANT and GENESIS, especially the guitars, vintage keyboards and the bass are sounding like the big prog guys. The main difference is in the female voice,the big choir-like backing vocals, and the flutes (no, not JETHRO TULL-like crazy, more like in Hungarian band SOLARIS). Lead singer Stephanie Semeniuc can sing anything from prog to more jazzy stuff with a clear, powerful voice and an impressive range and a unique timbre, so her presence gives a strong plus to the already great music.

Each long composition on this album has some kind of catchy ear-worm potential to it which is very important in keeping the attention of the listener alive, especially when the lyrics are in Hungarian and we can't understand a word. The booklet has a short explanation in English for each song, guiding the reader through the storyline. But of course the music speaks for itself. Personally I don't care too much about lyrics. Always liked Hungarian bands like AFTER CRYING, YOU AND I, EAST where the music was also very good.

I know that Akos Bogati-Bokor is obsessed with STEVE HOWE and YES in general, but I don't mind noticing these stylistic similarities. Yesterdays started an inside joke in 2006 (with their first album) that they are hiding the CLOSE TO THE EDGE melody a few times on each Yesterdays album. Later they got very vocal about this lovely tribute to YES. It took me a several days to notice the melody in "Ma minden érdekel". Can you spot it?

I found out from the booklet that Saint-Exupéry álma is an allegory of the loss of their keyboard player Zsolt Enyedi, who died in 2020. In "A méreg" they've used Eneydi's keyboard parts from an old demo and they've built a song around that theme, so we can hear his playing one last time on a Yesterdays album. The allegory is even more obvious: this song is about the passing of the Little Prince...

A 73 minute concept album is never an easy-listening experience, but this album grabs your attention from the start. Each song has something new to say musically, but there are a few musical themes that are present in each composition, just like it should in a case like this.

Even with the obvious YES and GENESIS influences I can't say that Yesterdays is not original. The music has a special Eastern European feel to it which I like very much.

The packaging, the booklet, the photos are very nicely done and in harmony with the music's concept, beautifully done!

Saint-Exupéry álma is a nice addition to any symphonic prog fan's collection with an excellent audiophile sound (they are promoters of the anti loudness war for years now). It should be played loud though. Warmly recommended concept album, one of my favorite albums of 2022.

KKrawczyk | 4/5 |


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