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Believe - World Is Round CD (album) cover





3.46 | 92 ratings

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3 stars Given the pedigree of this band, in particular the excellent Collage and Satellite, I was anticipating great things from this, my first new purchase of 2011. As it is, what we have here is an interesting collection of (mainly) short tracks, veering very close to crossover rather than neo territory, that are catchy and well performed without being standout.

No Time Inside, as a good example, is a track which could have benefited from more imaginative use of the violin on offer from Satomi, but instead strays close to dreariness, never once bursting out of its self imposed shell. In contrast, World Is Round (Part Two - the first part is a short instrumental) is far more interesting, certainly in terms of its more upbeat manner which does remind one quite strongly of the material Marillion were recording at the time of This Strange Engine.

We get a slice of prog metal with the very short Cut Me, Paste Me, featuring the now, I suppose, obligatory growling vocals which, to these ears, grate more than pleasure. Again, it is well performed, but really does nothing whatsoever to grab the listener's attention. With So Well, we get folk rock/pop, very pleasant in its execution but feeling somehow out of place. Therein, I feel, lies the problem with this album. There is nothing at all wrong with diversification of sounds and influences on a single work, but this one feels rather like a band not really being able to decide just who and what they are. That said, though, the piano solo in this track is brilliant. At the bottom end of the scale, Guru is a mess of a track, featuring more grating vocal effects and aimless direction.

Quibbles aside there are highlights on this album, and the first track which I would rate highly as one which will be listened to for some time is Lay Down Forever, a marvellously layered piece of music which creates a suspenseful buildup to an intense second half. Mirek Gil's main lead solo is excellent and dark, whilst the dark and heavy backing by the remainder of the band is memorable.

I really like Bored, which is a simple pop/rock track that is effective in its simplicity. Another track that shines in its simple arrangements is New Hands, probably a little too commercial for many tastes, but to these ears an uplifting and really positive track in contrast to a lot of the other fare on offer. In addition, the longest track on the album, and the one that comes closest to what we would describe as traditional prog, Poor King Of Sun Return, is a very enjoyable track, full of contrasting and interesting melodies, and the sort of territory I would like to band to explore more fully on future releases.

It would, in my opinion, be over stepping the mark a great deal by rating this as an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. It is, by and large, a good album, but one thing is absolutely sure. There will be many better releases over the course of the next eleven months.

Three stars.

lazland | 3/5 |


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