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A Big Goodbye - Sounds & Silences CD (album) cover


A Big Goodbye


Heavy Prog

3.63 | 78 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars What we have here is an accomplished marriage of progressive metal and folk: It's like a coffee shop duo decided to collaborate with a Dream Theater cover band. But please do not let that description connote any degree of amateurishness: This is a good album. Combining hard rock passages with thoughtful, clean vocals over acoustic guitar, one could draw comparisons with Incubus or Porcupine Tree (sans any experimental indulgences), and yet the band stays refreshingly original throughout the album. While all of the musicians are clearly proficient, one should not expect many lengthy musical passages or solos; the music generally serves the vocalist throughout, and that's not at all a bad thing- the lead vocalist has a pleasant, if unoffending voice with a refreshing degree of consistency (he reminds me of Ted Leonard from Enchant in tone though perhaps not range). The melodies are usually catchy even when they are complex- after only two listens, I was singing parts of this album to myself at work. I hope many more people will wave a big hello to A Big Goodbye.

"Thinking Out Loud" A moody acoustic guitar using a dominant seventh to ascend from a major chord to a minor chord lies underneath cloudy vocals with a psychedelic effect. After the introduction, the opening piece launches into a progressive metal assault before returning to the acoustic guitar (with a bit of psychedelic white noise). Following this, the listener is treated to an enjoyable pop rock song with a heavy hook. Overall, the song is tad fragmented, but each fragment is strong enough on its own.

"Solitude" Again juxtaposing acoustic guitar with heavy metal, my favorite track on the album has a complex but memorable vocal melody in the verse over exotic acoustic guitar and sitar. The chorus is one of the best, catchiest rock refrains I've ever heard.

"The Great Divide" This acoustic guitar-based song makes me think of what a collaboration between Lifehouse and Radiohead might sound like. Once again, we are treated to catchy rock vocals, pleasant chord progressions, and psychedelic flourishes. The middle instrumental passage is heavy rock, perhaps similar to Rush's Vapor Trails- no guitar soloing, but plenty of rhythmic twists and battering passages. The final part begins more along the lines of "Hotel California" by The Eagles with exotic twelve-string guitar and percussion, but soon provides an stimulating bit of saxophone.

"February Girl" Light saxophone and acoustic guitar provide a pleasant listening experience in the beginning. The song proper leans slightly disco in the verse, while the hard-rocking chorus has an excellent melodic build. The instrumental section at the end is rhythmically exciting, but unfortunately doesn't go anywhere; indeed, the music just abruptly shuts off- a pity.

"The Door" Of all the songs, "The Door" is the most straightforward and rock station radio-friendly as a whole. The guitar solo primarily consists of single whole notes over a steady backing in 3/4 time. As such, it may be the least exciting song here to the progressive rock fan, but I can't see why any rock music lover in general wouldn't like this one.

"In My Dreams" Providing some further metal chugging juxtaposed with acoustic-led verses, "In My Dreams" offers yet another refrain that begs to be sung along to in the car. And of all the songs, I'd say this is the most Enchant-like, complete with one of only two speedy guitar solos on the album (dual guitars at that).

"Memories" The fourteen-minute closer opens with easygoing acoustic guitar, vocals, and a mournful saxophone. The second riveting guitar solo soon follows, bleeding into that sad saxophone theme. Then the pace quickens, leading into what could have been another hit single- easily accessible and easily enjoyed. The brass punctuates the steady heavy metal interlude before dropping off entirely, bringing in piano and returning to the recurring theme. The sadness presses on in 3/4 and quietude, only occasionally endorsing their metal side. The final section is a sleepy bit of piano. For some reason, the drums getting left alone like that at the end make me feel sad in a way that the sorrowful piano did not- a strange but, for me, effective way to part from us.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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