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Magic Pie - Motions Of Desire  CD (album) cover

MOTIONS OF DESIRE

Magic Pie

 

Symphonic Prog

3.84 | 206 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Magic Pie: Motions of Desire [2005]

Rating: 6/10

Motions of Desire is the debut album from Norwegian progressive-rock band Magic Pie. Before I begin this review, I want to make it abundantly clear that symphonic progressive-rock is probably my favorite style of music. I'm the kind of prog fan who gets excited upon seeing enormously long track times on an album. I was quite anxious to listen to Magic Pie; on paper, this band features everything I enjoy about progressive-rock. Unfortunately, I found myself quite disappointed with this release. The band's sound surprised me upon first listen; while many symph-prog bands draw heavy influence from Yes and Genesis, I spotted different influences here. If I had to boil it down, this music could be fittingly described as a mixture of the AOR stylings of Kansas, the grandiosity of The Flower Kings, and the heaviness of Dream Theater. The AOR/hard-rock influences add an artificial level of cheesiness to the album, and many of the tracks are a bit too bombastic for their own good.

The album opens with "Change", a sprawling 20-minute epic. It opens in a fairly lackluster manner, with unmemorable melodic guitar lines and dull hard-rock passages. The vocals are dry, as well. However, the middle section improves things with some nice synth soloing, a groovy rhythm section, and jazzy piano. While inconsistent, this is a solid epic overall. The title track is a fairly weak piece of AOR-infused neo-prog with a cheesy chorus and unenthusiastic vocals. The 14-minute "Full Circle Poetry" is another lackluster piece. The band is a bit too caught up in their hard-rock influences here; the result is a rather inorganic mini-epic. "Without Knowing Why" begins with some lame hard-rock, but it eventually morphs into an excellent synth-driven symph-prog piece. "Illusion & Reality (Part I)" features some cool DT-esque guitar/keyboard interplay, but the track as a whole is cheesy and overlong. "Illusion & Reality (Part II) - Final Breath" is a weak pseudo-metal track that the album could have easily done without. "Illusion & Reality (Part IV) - Reprise" is a short melodic guitar solo. It's unobjectionable, but prog fans have been listening to Roine Stolt play this style much better for years now. "Dream Vision" is a solid closing track. The annoying metallic tendencies persist, but the synth work is fantastic.

I find myself underwhelmed with Motions of Desire. Even after repeated listenings, there only a few moments that manage create any sort of memorable impression on me. The band seems unsure of what style they want to play. Kansas-style symph-prog? DT-influenced prog-metal? ELP-inspired keyboard theatrics? This album presents all of these things, but not in an organized or cohesive way. These 70 minutes plod on without any concrete sense of direction. This is unfortunate, because there some great ideas presented here. As a whole, however, this album isn't up to par. It's too artificial for my tastes. Motions of Desire is an ambitious album that makes for an enjoyable listen, but it isn't particularly special. This has been one of my less satisfying forays in the world of modern symph-prog.

Anthony H. | 3/5 |

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