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Fourteen Twentysix - In Halflight Our Soul Glows CD (album) cover

IN HALFLIGHT OUR SOUL GLOWS

Fourteen Twentysix

 

Crossover Prog

3.61 | 9 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I was looking forward to the release of this new effort by Dutch outfit, Fourteen TwentySix. I regarded its predecessor album, Lighttown Closure, as an excellent album, if a little bleak. That album was, essentially, a solo vehicle on the part of the talented Chris van der Linden. In Halflight Our Soul Glows, by contrast, is very much a band effort, with the other four members now contributing fully to proceedings.

As with Lighttown Closure, this is an album which demands many listens before putting fingers to keyboard for a review, and the listener is rewarded for such patience.

Aside from the increased involvement of band personnel, the main difference between the two albums is the more accessible nature of this one. For sure, there are some desolate moments here, notably the extremely bleak Sleepwalker which features an incredible blend of sound effects accompanying a doom-laden guitar riff. The album also continues the post- rock sensibilities on tracks such as For A Second, reminiscent to me of some of Radiohead's more tuneful moments in the past ten years or so.

The overall mood, however, is far brighter, and this is a healthy progression (pardon the pun). It's not a bundle of laughs, far from it. Not for this outfit the playful lyrics of an Ian Anderson. I refer here, however, to the overall textures of the music itself. As enjoyable as Lighttown Closure is, it is not an album that you will play regularly - you have to be "in the mood". By contrast, In Halflight.... is an album that I have played, and will continue to play, on a frequent basis. The longest track, The Crossing, is sublimely brilliant and will be a clear highlight of 2012 with its excellent lead guitar, throbbing rhythm, and build-up of huge intensity, before the climax takes us down gently with a beautiful acoustic section.

There is not one track in excess of six minutes on the work, but the band have managed to create a body of work of which the tracks seque into a whole. Take the wonderful acoustic guitar solo of Noon which effortlessly seams into the electronic mournfulness of Hollow, a standout track which combines bittersweet vocals/lyrics, tremendous synth effects, piano, and a throbbing, relentless bass and drum riff at its core.

In addition to the band personnel, there are two guest appearances on the album. Every Line features Mick Moss of melancholic outfit Antimatter. This track is the first single from the album, and is a very effective mix of soundscapes, riffs, and Moss lending very distinctive vocals to a dark track. It is, perhaps, appropriate here to give special mention to Martijn Jorrisen's brilliant bass playing, very much at the fore here, but never anything less than effective throughout the album.

Secondly, we have Rush Run, a track which starts with a massive rush of noise before settling into a lovely vocal by Vera Dirkx, whom I have not had the pleasure of hearing before, but would like to in future. This is a track of contrasts, because the band provide us with an almost industrial wave of noise before a piano introduces Vera singing an exquisitely fragile vocal. It is only 1:50 long, and is, perhaps, the only track where I wish a greater length had been given to us.

It is always dangerous to make predictions in this business, but I genuinely believe that, on this form, Fourteen TwentySix could develop into one of the most important, and, crucially, commercially successful, of the modern European progressive rock artists. Yes, there are shades of Porcupine Tree, Floyd, and Crimson in here, but, really, it is impossible and pointless to classify this act, for what we have here is utterly unique, marvellously performed, and thoughtful with commercial sensibilities (Little Diamonds has you tapping your feet and nodding your head relentlessly).

This album is very much a move forward from the opener, and is never anything less than interesting, thoughtful, and entertaining. Time has clearly been taken in perfecting the various sonic landscapes provided to us, and I for one hope that this patient work will be rewarded.

The album is available as a download for the ridiculously cheap price of ?3 from the Bandcamp site for the band (this is where I purchased it), and a digipack CD is to follow shortly.

Four stars for this. Very highly recommended modern progressive rock.

lazland | 4/5 |

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