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Solar Project - The House Of S. Phrenia CD (album) cover


Solar Project

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JRF/Canterbury, P Metal, Eclectic
3 stars The SOLAR PROJECT was started in 1988 by Robert Voker, Janacek Terhoeven and Peter Terhoeven. Their eclectic progressive sound has found a home on Musea Records, where THE HOUSE OF S. PHRENIA is their third album but only the first i have encountered. I review this album having never heard anything else by this band. There is a lot to love about this album. There are many cool sounds eked out of many guitar slides, many keyboard runs that bend and morph with fairly strong song structures. But likewise there are many ho hum moments as well.

This is a concept album that explores the depths of the human psyche and each track represents a different aspect of the human condition.The tracks are broken up by narrative leading the listener to a different floor in a department store. Such as first floor Mr. "Anitor's" apartment to announce the first track which is a short but sweet super funky freakout with some Herbie Hancock type synths bending back and forth like a yoga instructor. I was beginning to wonder what kind of prog this was. Funk and prog are certainly the odd couple but the track ends as quickly as it gets heated up and then off to more serious prog endeavors.

Starting on the second floor "S. Phrenia" which is a great story about schizophrenia and some equally compelling progified song structures going on. Nice mood enhancing synths engulf a steady rock beat with amplified guitars and some rough and ready backup singers to usher in an ever increasing speed tempo picking up. The track is great for keeping a pleasing melody revolving around a wealth of instrumental passages and an army of vocalists adding their counterpoints to the catchiness.

While there is a lot to love about HOUSE OF S. PHRENIA, this is a very lengthy album that lasts 75 minutes. I personally feel that about a third of this album could have been cut off and it would have been a much stronger album. While there is a strong beginning that displays a lot of creativity and and slight nods to Pink Floyd, by the time we get to the end of the album we get bombarded with endless Floydian noodling and space rock meandering that outstays its welcome. While the concept of the album is a lofty one tackling one of the most complex subjects ever to grace this planet Earth, the musical offerings just aren't up to the task in accompanying these ideas. There are also sitars, flamenco guitar parts and lots of little bursts of coolness.

The lead vocals are a little hit and miss for me. While the background vocals tend to soften the results, i just feel the lead vocals should be stronger with music like this, sometimes they fumble a little. Still though not a bad album and one that is enjoyable albeit with noticeable blemishes pocking its countenance. This album has sold me on checking out future releases by the SOLAR PROJECT because there is a lot of potential here that i hope has been developed.

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Posted Saturday, April 4, 2015 | Review Permalink

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