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Northwind - Distant Shores CD (album) cover

DISTANT SHORES

Northwind

 

Heavy Prog

2.71 | 8 ratings

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The Mystical
2 stars Northwind - Distant Shores

"Distant Shores" is an unofficial demo release from underground prog band "Northwind". The album is a whimsical collection of songs that vary in length. The album is rather nice, and is very good fun if you are in the right mood, but it is non-essential and there are some definite flaws.

I have a soft spot for this funny little album, and I wish to express this. However, I think that this album is definitely non-essential as it certainly lacks in certain areas. Roland Ernest has a voice that you will probably either love or hate depending on your mood, and since the album is so vocally orientated, this will effect the way you hear it. The lyrics are rather hit-or-miss as well. There are some excellent lyrics, but there are also some rather weak ones. For example, we have:

"Like sundays walking in the rain, Time is but a way to wash away your worries..."

Rather clever. But then we have some lines like:

"If you were ten shares of RPM, I would have sold you right there for a dollar."

Ouch.

Still, there is some humour that can be found here. And that is what makes this album interesting. Prog is generally rather humourless in nature, as many of the great prog bands tend use music as an expression of more serious topics such as politics, humanity, mentality and spirituality. While the topics that are explored in the lyrics of this album are not always humorous, the lyrics are written whimsical and fun fashion. At times this is also the album's biggest flaw. There are times throughout the album that the lyrics can get a little bit dumb, the biggest example being "Pretty Face". Here we see the band attempt a slightly poppier sound, which does not work to their favour. Another example of this is "Silly Little Will", only the music in this track is excellent.

The best tracks on the album are "When Dreams are Lost", and more importantly, the triumphant opener "The Sentient Man". "When Dreams are Lost" is the only melancholic track on the album. The track has some excellent instrumental work, somewhat reminiscent of Fragile era Yes and early King Crimson. "The Sentient Man" is a memorable track, driven by saxophone and a great organ riff. This song has a truly excellent vocal melody, which brings the it to a climatic conclusion. This is the only song on the album that I would call a "masterpiece".

Non-essential, but quite a bit of fun.

The Mystical | 2/5 |

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