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Shadowland - Through The Looking Glass CD (album) cover





3.12 | 50 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars An album without pretention.

Clive Nolan is a busy man. A very, very creative brain that seems to teem with a godzillion songs. For 20 years now he's been on the road with at least 4 differents bands which 2 of them made history: Arena and Pendragon.

Shadowland is an almost secret project to expel the dark thoughts of Nolan into songs. The reason why considering Shadowland is about the 'dark side of the force' if I may use that expression. They play dark, gloomy music with relatively heavy guitars and the usual touch of Nolan on the keys. Not much sunshine seems to pierce through that thick layer of clouds, and that's quite cool with me. Lots of the same elements of Arena but Shadowland songs are harder to get into. Funny, they're longer but they seem to be stretched more than being really progressive.

Less melodic than Pendragon and less progressive than Arena, this is a rather linear album with no real surprises. One surprise for me was to hear Nolan's vocals for the first time. Quite surprising! He sings rather well, putting emphasis on emotions. A curious feeling of hearing an UK version of Joey Ramone gets me.

Being the center core and only contributor on the songwriting, Nolan shares a lot with The Cure's one and only beloved leader, Robert Smith. They sing in a rather same way and some stuff on Through the Looking Glass could've been heard on Desintegration (The Cure's last good album). Nolan being the only captain on board seems not to be the best bet to accumulate acclaims. When Pointer and Mitchell joined with Arena, the mixture really gelled and a particular spark could be detected. But with Shadowland, the songs are still good, the musicianship is still profesionnal (especially with Groom on guitar and Salmon on fretless bass) but nothing seems to part from the herd.

Basically Shadowland is a subdivision that gives a chance to Nolan to express more negatively his potential. Prepare for more tragic compostions, the ones that you use to listen in your depressing phase as a teen.

A step higher of most néo-progressive bands mostly because it has it's own signature. It's good to hear something not ripped off from the usual suspects. We can give that to Nolan: he rarely gives us a half-assed product. The guy just cares too much.

Play several times before buying BUT fans on Nolan will find candy for their sweet thooth!

Menswear | 3/5 |


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