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Nine Stones Close - One Eye On The Sunrise CD (album) cover


Nine Stones Close



3.92 | 213 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'One Eye on the Sunrise' - Nine Stones Close (7/10)

Although there was never point where I found myself outright disliking it, I found myself less enthusiastic about Nine Stones Close's first album "Traces" (second if you count the Adrian Jones solo work "St. Lo"), and couldn't really get into what the band was doing. Although the soft, melancholic approach was pleasant to the ears, I felt the band's songwriting tended to stay mellow to the point of ennui. I found myself wanting more than the purely introspective, Floydy sound Nine Stones Close hoisted their flag under. Barring a dynamic range that wasn't meshing with personal taste however, Nine Stones Close demonstrated some great promise as a full band; a potential further realized with "One Eye on the Sunrise". Although the melancholia and brooding staples of the band's sound remain, Adrian Jones and company have widened their range and scope of their ambition. "One Eye on the Sunrise" doesn't completely solve the existing style issues I've had with the band since I first heard them, but I can at least call myself a fan of what they're doing.

As was the case on "Traces", many reviewers have cited emotional resonance and atmosphere as the "One Eye on the Sunrise"s selling point. Indeed, Nine Stones Close's big focus on sentiment and feeling in their music diverges them from most of the bands nowadays that fall underneath the progressive rock umbrella. Adrian Jones' melodic, soulful guitar work recalls the Floyd legend himself, David Gilmour. Returning keyboardist Brenden Eyre and bassist Peter Vink's sonic contribution are more reserved, offering a welcoming ambient backdrop for Jones' guitar work, with a keen insight on translating the atmosphere to fit both the sentimental and rock-oriented moments. Although there are several passages that point the spotlight on Jones' guitars, it's often vocalist Marc Atkinson that keeps the listeners attention. Although his voice was pleasant on "Traces", his performance here is much improved, sporting a wider range, even shedding the melancholia entirely for the occasional rocking chorus. Although his improved diversity is what sets him a step above his past self, his strongest talent remains the emotional warmth that he brings on the album's most tender moments. The soaring hook of the laid- back "A Secret" showcases an intense vibrato that gets under my skin.

Nine Stones Close may still keep most of their stones in the school of mellow sentimentality, but unlike "Traces", I get the sense here that they know when to rock. The title track is a perfect example of this, featuring some crisp riffs that I might even hear on a classic Rush album. The addition of Pieter van Hoorn for drum duties is a strong move towards a more intense style, a drummer I've appreciated exactly for his energetic, precise approach since hearing his performance with Knight Area. The range brings a much- needed jolt of caffeine to the band's sound, although there's been nothing lost from their originally 'tender' take on prog. Nine Stones Close writes music for rainy, introspective nights, and while "One Eye on the Sunrise" still isn't an album I can recommend for everyone, they've come a long ways.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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