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Salem Hill - Mimi's Magic Moment CD (album) cover


Salem Hill



3.78 | 83 ratings

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4 stars Salem Hill has been a difficult band for me. When I first started listening to them, I really fell in love with them. I considered "The Robbery of Murder" to be a masterpiece?it was honestly one of the first prog albums that I really fell in love with. I was a little disappointed by "Not Everybody's Gold" because, while it had an excellent epic track, I felt the other tracks were a little lacking. "Be" was not particularly my cup of tea, so I was disappointed by that album as well. Then, I finally got "Mimi's Magic Moment" which I initially loved. As a symphonic prog fan how could I not be excited by the prospect of an album with only four songs, three of them epics over fifteen minutes long? But, over time, and as I have expanded and developed my musical tastes, I find myself less enthusiastic about this band. It has been a struggle for me since I want to recreate that joy I had when I first listened to these albums.

But, that being said, I do find "Mimi's Magic Moment" to be a very delightful symphonic prog album that showcases this band at the highest of their abilities, perhaps moreso than any of their other albums. "The Joy Gem" is a fantastic opener that really sets the bar high. Extra points have to be given for the inclusion of Neal Morse, who is a musical hero of mine. The song moves along fantastically and has a really upbeat feel. Helping that feel is the wonderful violin playing by David Ragsdale. There is even a beautiful section that slows things down and features beautifully played piano and the voice of Neal Morse (one of my favorite voices in progressive rock). The ending is pure symphonic bliss, completely bombastic and wonderful. This is a gem of a track and one of the best by the band.

"All Fall Down" for the first half is rather boring to me. There is a catchy sing-along chorus, but it doesn't particularly grab me. But, about halfway through the song some acoustic guitar and flute lead a fantastic instrumental section. At moments it this section even sounds as if it has a Latin influence. It really raises up the song to a higher level and is one of my favorite sections on the album.

"Stolen By Ghosts" starts off slowly with mostly just piano and voice. Then, the bass plays a great plodding rhythm and the song starts moving along. There is some great keyboard and violin musical interplay that is really fun to listen to. Things slow down again quickly with a beautiful section featuring a beautiful piano melody and the great voice of Carl Groves, which I really find enjoyable. Things don't stay slow for long. The tempo picks up and there is another great section that switches between violin and guitar solos. This section really has a great groove to it and really keeps my attention throughout. This leads into another softer section featuring vocals by Michael Dearing. The vocal harmonies here (and throughout the album) are really done very well. Michael Dearing really belts it out here and it makes for a very dramatic moment on the album, highlighted by a very emotional violin solo. The song fades out as if it is over, but there is still more. The final three minutes of this song to me are unnecessary and kind of drag down the song for me.

But, things pick up immediately with "The Future Me" that begins with an excellent musical interplay between acoustic guitar and keyboard. I love the instrumental opening to this song?the instruments blend perfectly together to create something musically intricate, but so fun to listen to. Then, as is typical with this album, things slow down to only piano and vocals. It all sounds beautiful and builds up to a great climax. Then things speed up with a great piano solo. Things get increasingly intense and emotional as the song builds. It really is an incredible peace of music where all musicians are playing beautifully. I would like to highlight the great piano and keyboard playing as well as singing of Carl Groves that is really fantastic here. There are also some wonderful female vocals.

All in all, this is really a fantastic album with only a few sections that drag on a bit, making this album slightly less than perfect. But, there are fantastic instrumental sections, great emotional sections featuring beautiful vocals, and a whole lot of fun had by all making the record. This album comes highly recommended, and I do believe now that it is Salem Hill's strongest. It is going to be tough to top in the future.

natewait | 4/5 |


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