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BunChakeze - Whose Dream? CD (album) cover

WHOSE DREAM?

BunChakeze

 

Crossover Prog

3.78 | 130 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Whose Dream?' - BunChakeze (8/10)

Here is an album with quite a unique story behind it. From the ashes of an early '80s rock group Odin of London, a handful of aspiring Brits decided to take their music in a new direction, akin to that of the classic prog rock scene that had since died down years before. Through ample determination and perseverance, the band that would call themselves BunChakeze finally started making sense of their ideas and music, finally finding an American singer by the name of Joey Lugassy to sing for them. Due to the lack of interest and energy in the prog scene during the 1980s, what transpired during those BunChakeze sessions in 1985 were kept under tight wraps- that is, until 2010. Having finally seen a revival of prog rock in more recent times, guitarist Colin Tench and company have seen fit to release their album to the public. An album that would no doubt be a cult classic to spark heated discussions among many prog afficionados now had it been released at the time of recording, BunChakeze's 'Whose Dream?' feels very much like a product of its time, but as fresh to public listeners as any other album released during the year, the album proves that such music of uncompromising integrity is indeed timeless.

Much like a fine wine, it feels as if 'Whose Dream?' has gently fermented with time. While many albums released during the earlier decades of progressive rock have now been subject to following decades of listening and critique, BunChakeze gets the charm of the 70's/80's symphonic prog scene without the familiarity, making the album a very unique case even simply based on that. Musically, we are granted a meticulous and warm stream of music that is short of an hour, delicately performed and composed. While the album and band have certainly crafted a successful possible classic out of this one however, BunChakeze's influences wear down heavily upon them.

A general criticism concerning prog is that the majority of it tends to emulate a few great artists who got their kicks out during the early '70s; Genesis, Yes, and Pink Floyd being chief among them. 'Whose Dream?' seems to take elements from these three bands (and others) and cut-and-paste different stylistic innovations of these bands into their own tapestry of music. Here, we can hear Joey Lugassy's strong (yet sometimes inconsistent) voice often sounding very close to that of Peter Gabriel's, Colin Tench's multiple guitar tones either taking a note from Hackett of Genesis, or David Gilmour of Floyd, for the lead solo sections. All of these is done very tastefully and skillfully by the band, but the fact that this sound would already be very familiar even as the 80's came about adds little to BunChakeze's credit.

Criticism of an original sound aside, the album is musically very strong; very close in structure and sound to Genesis' 'Foxtrot', and generally on par in terms of quality as well. Beginning and ending with a Spanish-tinged instrumental named after the band itself, these added parts gives the album a feeling of being a complete work, although they do feel like add-ons to the body of the work, as opposed to being an integral part of the album. Next is the title track 'Whose Dream', which is a beautiful and warm way to kick off the more complete songs, and capped off with a rocking solo from Tench.

Among the others, one of my two favourites from 'Whose Dream?' is the somewhat melancholy 'Handful Of Rice', which while taking a while to grow on me as a song, does tend to be one of the most complicated and effective compositions on the album. The other personal highlight is 'Long Distance Runner' which gets a surprisingly upbeat feeling going for it. Other tracks include 'Midnight Skies' where the bands tries their hand at storytelling through music, and 'The Deal,' which begs the Pink Floyd comparison, especially to that of 'The Wall' album.

Put simply, the album is generally very strong in its performance and writing. The production is organic, although flawed in sections as an inevitable result; at times, it feels as if the vocals are mixed too loudly over the rest of the music. Technical issues aside, 'Whose Dream?' seems to be an album that begs to be heard. After being a locked in a vault for many an unfulfilled year, 'Whose Dream?' is sure to appeal to the broader prog scene the new millennium enjoys as opposed to the '80s, and while one can certainly not expect a would-be revolution in the style, if it's solid, emotive, warm and organic symphonic progressive rock you're looking for; you'll find it here.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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