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Nine Stones Close - Traces CD (album) cover

TRACES

Nine Stones Close

 

Neo-Prog

3.94 | 124 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Melancholic scarcely begins to describe this somber affair, this very polished release from Nine Stones Close. Without a doubt, the most exciting aspect of this album is the varied guitar textures throughout- Adrian Jones knows how to build a sonic landscape with six strings. Despite this, there is very little variation among the tracks themselves; the five pieces offer almost nothing new from one another. That isn't a big problem though, as the album is less than forty-five minutes long, and so it makes for an even listening experience. Traces is highly recommended to fans of Porcupine Tree.

"Reality Check" A moody clean guitar riff, accented by other guitars, crafts a grave, weary feeling. A wall of sound enters, led by a thin synthesizer lead. The first of several very well constructed guitar solos guides the instrumental toward its conclusion. To compare it to something else, I would say it is like a heavier "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd (though far more enjoyable to me).

"Threads" In keeping with the Pink Floyd vibe, the first song (and easily the best) uses simplistic organ chords, drums, and bass to support a dark but dignified guitar solo. The vocals are appropriately hushed and fragile- certainly not the most powerful vocal performance anyone will hear, but appropriateness is far better than technical skill. The melody of the chorus is incredibly captivating. The dismal refrains seem to serve as a theme for the album: "What's it like being dead?" "I will answer, I know."

"Falling to Pieces" The next song is more of a low-spirited, acoustic rock track (in the vein of Alice in Chain's Jar of Flies).

"Traces" Again relying on various guitar tones, the title track features semi-a cappella vocals, and swirling musical interjections. One may expect a whistling synthesizer that divides the song cleanly in two places: Whereas the first half is quiet and reserved, the second half is pure rock with a blistering guitar solo.

"Thicker Than Water" The final piece is a lengthy song that maintains the remorseful tone of the album. Pads, electric pianos, and other keyboards are more prominent here than on any other tune. Midway through, a bout of heavy guitar and organ breaks through. The final part involves diverse guitars, ambient keyboard, a thudding of toms, and a concluding, depressing thought: "Moving on...it wears me out."

Epignosis | 4/5 |

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