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Quasar - The Loreli CD (album) cover





3.23 | 42 ratings

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3 stars An album in the neo prog vein. For seven years the band worked on this album, going through several line-up changes which is probably the reason why it took so long. In the credits you can find the names listed of some of the former band members. Obviously the theatrical voice of vocalist Tracy Hitchings is taking the quality of this album to a higher level. A bit overacting maybe but talented in any case. You can tell Hitchings use to be the singer in heavy rock bands like Heart before she joined a prog band. The way she sings is also a bit reminiscent to Toyah ; better known as mrs Robert Fripp. The album has a keyboard driven sound which is clearly influenced by electronic music but early Marillion is also close at hand. Even the guitars sound like keyboards ; these were the eighties and the midi guitar was a new invention at the time and this album includes lots of it which is not always turning out good when listening in 2005. When combined with electronic drums, the album has a thin, plastic sound. It prevents the music from flowing though the floating keyboards could use an organic sound. Still the symphonic flavours of the keyboards are nice to listen to like they are. There's a sombre feel to the music and on a fascinating track like "as you fall asleep" the sadness changes into a frightening nightmare with Hitchings in the role of a witch. The songs all have a solid structures but like on Marillion's debut album the changing from one mood to another isn't smoothing. In other words sometimes the tracks seems to be nothing more than a compilation of several fragments tied together in one track and there's nothing to prevent you from noticing that. The majestic endings aren't helping. When you really want to get in the essence of "The Loreli" you have to give it some time before the beauty of the music is revealed. The title track is different and can be considered as the highlight. The mysterious song grabs the essence of a story of a ghost ship perfectly. With Hitchings wonderful singing on top of several layers of melodic keyboard lines ; this calm song has a stunning mood and it's ending holds another surprise. Toshi Tsuchiya seems a skilful guitarist performing a splendid guitar solo which has been fade out too soon ; I wanted to hear more of this.

Unfortunately this album isn't really on par with the first one. The sound quality is only little better. The way the keyboards are handled is less virtuous and adventurous although the symphonies on "The Loreli" still are marvellous to listen to. Like other eighties releases the music seems to be locked in a cage and would have sounded better without. Another difference when compared to the debut is the emphasis on the sad, ethereal mood rather than on the song writing. But if you like the sound of the keyboards of Vangelis or Rick Wright and you have the patience to let the music grow on you then you should give this album a try. barely 3 stars

Fishy | 3/5 |


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