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Collage - Moonshine CD (album) cover

MOONSHINE

Collage

 

Neo-Prog

4.00 | 265 ratings

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lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Some prog rock, it is true to say, is not altogether emotionally uplifting. Some of it can be downright depressing, and in the genre's first heyday of the 1970's, a lot of bands released exceptionally long suites and concepts that were musically, emotionally, and intellectually challenging. I say this not, of course, as a criticism, but as a matter of fact.

If we jump forward to the neo prog explosion, a lot of bands then seemed to have to issue albums that aped that style of music, if nothing else to prove their prog credentials. The better ones got over this tendency, and began to create wholly original music and styles.

The above is stated to introduce this blinder of an album by Collage, a short lived Polish band. Moonshine is an album which drips with relentless enthusiasm, is upbeat beyond belief, and very cleverly intersperses lengthy epics with some extraordinarily catchy prog pop shorter tracks. What they proved, above all else, is that neo prog did not simply have to be a copy of the classic bands to be effective, but basically took the best of what influenced them and turned it into something deliciously original. For that, this band deserve to be right up amongst great outfits such as Marillion and Pendragon as being amongst the best the sub genre has to offer. I say this, by the way, as a huge lover of neo prog.

There is, in this album, more than a smattering of Marillion influence, certainly in the manner that the instrumental passages are constructed, and more than a bit of the Hogarth era at that, as well. Elsewhere, there are also the obligatory nods to classic artists, none more so than the longest track on the album, In Your Eyes, whose end vocal passage bears more than a passing resemblance to Gabriel's track of the same name from So. In addition, the band have clearly listened to the full quota of Camel's albums. In doing this, however, they never once sound like a cheap tribute band.

Robert Amirian's vocals are incredible throughout, and much of it, by the way, does also put you in mind of more than one post indie outfit. The chorus, and accompanying guitar burst, on Wings In The Night transports the listener to another plain.

The musicianship throughout is excellent. Palczewski's keyboard work is nothing short of phenomenal, Gil on guitar backs up Amirian's lead effortlessly, whilst the rhythm section of Szadkowski on drums and Witkowski on are about as tight and urgent as it is possible to get. For no better example of how well they play and riff as a unit, listen to the closing section of The Blues.

This is an excellent work, and the standard would be carried forward into successor outfit Satellite. Very highly recommended for all those who wish to explore neo prog outside of the UK comfort zone, and for prog fans in general who appreciate grand, upbeat, music with more than a hint of wider pop/rock sensibilities.

Four stars, and a strong four stars at that.

lazland | 4/5 |

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