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Salmon - Decade Reference CD (album) cover

DECADE REFERENCE

Salmon

 

Symphonic Prog

3.46 | 16 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

friso
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Salmon - Decade Reference (2001)

Professional trained key and flute player Jan Jaap Langereis found the proper musicians to finally record one of his own progressive rock records after being a prog collector for decades. I met Jan Jaap at the music school of Heiloo, where I myself was working on my own first progressive compositions as a young guitar student. Jan Jaap was so kind to offer me some of his old vinyls of Gentle Giant (which became a favorite band of mine) and some more bands and he also gave me this cd of his own band, Salmon. It is thus noteworthy to mention that it is kind of hard to write an objective review here, but a man does what he can.

Salmon plays symphonic, slightly neo-progressive rock with a certain lightness to it. As main points of reference I would point to Genesis, Gentle Giant and the more intelligent works of Supertramp. Furthermore minor folk influences can be found. The atmosphere's range from slightly optimistic and adventerious to emotional (but not theatrical), back to serious and to playful (some Gentle Giant influences on modern symphonic compositions). Salmon has the capability to wright both shorter and longer compositions without loosing itself. The production of the album surprised me a bit, for this debut albums sounds actually quite warm and thick! Keeping in mind it was recorded in just two days (if I remember it correctly). The lyrics by Jan Jaap are good, but really stand out on the 'A second life and soul'-epic and the short acoustic folk-track 'Inconceivable'.

The song-writing and composition is quite strong throughout, though I would point out that there are some minor flaws in the harmonic interpretations of some bass and guitar lines in relation to the chord progressions. The keys of Jan Jaap Langereis are particularly strong and his assortment of keyboards and synths sound up-to-date but not to midi-like (a sound I dislike). The vocals of Jan Jaap are very pitch-perfect and his voice has a certain calmness in it. The guitars of Gerrit Hoogebeen sound a bit too electronic processed for my tastes, but most of his lines work very well. I really wished that his opening solo on 'A Void' would have been reconsidered. His acoustic sections on 'Prologue' and 'Inconceivable' are however very strong. The bass-guitar of Sven de Haan plays a melodic role on most parts. The drums of Robber Schuster are tight and clean. A bit more guts (heaviness) and jazzy influences wouldn't have hurt here in my humble opinion.

Listening to this album I am impressed by how good it actually is. The tasty ambient sound of 'Prologue', the opening-epic 'A void' with it's many strong sections, the short and folky 'Inconceivable' and the excellent former-side-long epic 'A second life with heart and soul' really stand out for me. The latter has six sub-parts that actually do make sense and the lyrics about future technologies applied on humans are both serious and ironical. The other tracks all have strong sections like the guitar-keyboard cooperation on Trespassing and the nice symphonic interludes on Dancing Bird. My only problem with this album is that it is bit too long for my tastes. The last three songs have to create their own momentum because the tension-bow the album is actually quite finished after the sixt track 'A second..' with it's 22 minutes of duration.

Conclusion. This album perhaps hasn't been a success on the commercial side, but it surely can be called a great artistic achievement for Jan Jaap Langereis and his band. For an album written, played, recorded & released by only the four members of the band this really sound great and more then original enough to be recommended to fans of symphonic prog and neo or crossover prog. Three and a halve stars rounded up.

friso | 4/5 |

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