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THE RPWL EXPERIENCE

RPWL

Neo-Prog


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4 stars I was lucky enough to get an advance ciopy of this record and I can't wait for the real thing. I think knowing how well they've studied Pink Floyd helps me appreciate what's happening. Pink Floyd is, more than any other band, the reason I started to like, not just progressive, but ALL music. RPWL is not like other 'neo-prog' I've heard and loved. There is a more organic and unified sound. The instruments don't stick out, even during solos. The drums don't pop out of the mix, the opposite of a Mike Portnoy recording. It's a great plan, because it focuses on the compelling lyric approach and just the song as a whole, instead of everybody's individual skills. I almost wish there was just a little more spotlighting (is that a word), but I'm happy to exchange Yes-like showmanship for great rock-and-roll music.

Anyway, the first track tries to 'heavy' things up a bit, but without great success. this band is more about a direct approach. The second song ('Breath In Breath Out') is where their formula soars. Under four minutes, yet supremely dramatic (as good prog should be) and even catchy. How do do they do that? 'Where Can I Go' is a great old psychedlic-blues. This really shows the old Floyd influence, as well as a nice Beatles influence in the vocal harmony. The music is simple and effective.

The next song is a dirge-like cover of Dylan's 'Masters of War, vaguely remeniscent of Hackett's dirge- like cover of Dylan's 'Man in the Long Black Coat' on 'Wild Orchids'. I'm a HUGE Dylan fan, so I'm not big on these covers. I like that they like old Bob, but these covers seem more for the artist's benefit (i.e. RPWL and Hackett) than for the listener's.

'This is Not a Prog Song' is one of the great tongue-in-cheek ruminations on the music we all know and love. I love this song and find it to be riotously funny. Despite what I've said above, there's some huge guitar soloing. It's all the more impressive that these guys are not native english speakers.

The second half of the record gets back to business. 'Watch Myself' brings back that psychedelic feel with heavily reverbed vocals and nice simple chords. The effect is not like neo-prog at all, but more like a very confident and sincere modern rock. 'Stranger' is a bit more traditional in a prog sense. Nice mellotron and different stops and starts. The heavy guitars of Dream Theater and that ilk are suggested, but the bridge/breakdown leads to something a bit different, a bit ruminative (is that a word?) 'River' is a quiet song that isn't afraid to go a bit long and still culminates very nicely. 'Choose What You Want To Look At' is their rap song, complete with moog/theramin solo. A bit more experimental, but effective. The obligatory big ending comes with 'Turn Back The Clock'. Acoustic guitars, mellotron, keyboard solo and soaring vocal. Very satisfying.

While I Like the album 'World Through My Eyes' a bit more, I'm still so excited to have discovered RPWL and I love that they're pumping out great new music. This is a hearty recommedation.

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Send comments to mpomy (BETA) | Report this review (#162305)
Posted Thursday, February 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars This one was a bad Experience for me.

I loved rpwl when they stayed close to Pink Floyd. In this one they try to Experience with songs not so related to the space rock of PF.

I think that the changes were for worst. Awful song This is not another prog......(they say our songs are like PF ones ..- or something like that-) and the other oneChoose what you want....show us a change we didn't want.

This album is more heavy prog and more poppy too,but the orientation to the commercial songs have the inspiration of Coldplay or Radiohead but when this bands write not inspired songs but bad songs.

Disappointed for me.

2 stars

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Send comments to robbob (BETA) | Report this review (#163362)
Posted Friday, March 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars When a band chooses to call an album The [insert band name here] Experience, you would expect that they are offering up their best work to date. Unfortunately, RPWL fails to deliver on this, their auspiciously- titled fourth full-length album. To be fair, the band faced a daunting task in attempting to follow up their impressive psychedelic epic World Through My Eyes. As far as I'm concerned, that album was the high water mark in RPWL's career to date. The mixture of Pink Floyd and Beatles melodies with Eastern music influences was a refreshing combination that made WTME one of the best albums of 2005. Now I am all for bands experimenting and trying new things with each album, but some things just don't work. The new spice that the RPWL appears to be cooking with is metal riffs and social commentary, two flavors that tend to leave a somewhat heavy-handed after taste. Songs like "Silenced" and "Masters of War" deal with the band's objection to governments (presumably the U.S.) who wage wars, while "Where Do I Go?" seems to be a commentary on the media and organized religion. Now, I agree that war is horrible and the media and religions do a number on peoples' psyches, but do we really need MORE songs to repeat these themes over and over? Ironically, "Masters of War"-a carbon copy of Pink Floyd's song "Sorrow"-is placed just before the self-deprecating "This Is Not A Prog Song," which effectively invalidates whatever impact was supposed to be derived from the latter song. "This Is Not A Prog Song" is quite amusing in that it sounds like a snobby review (perhaps from someone like me) put to a catchy, distinctly not-prog melody. Unfortunately, the song feels horribly out of place on an album that attempts to tackle such heavy subject matter. "Stranger" dives right back into the evils of war with what feels like a cut-rate Dream Theater sound. "Choose What You Want To Look At" is one of the only songs with a sound that I can really hook onto, but the overtly anti-commercialism subject matter feels forced. RPWL has dabbled in social commentary before, and I've never found it this oppressive. Frankly, I long for the days when these guys didn't take themselves so darn seriously! I have never looked to RPWL for the reinvention of the wheel, but the band sounds like they have taken a major step back rather than creating a new Experience.

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Send comments to rangerm13 (BETA) | Report this review (#171135)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars

Special Edition with 2 bonus track

Many years back I witnessed a RPWL gig during a Dutch progrock festival, I can remember the very Floydian inspired guitarplay. While listening to this new CD I can trace some Floydian guitarwork like in Watch Myself Sleeping (dreamy, then more lush and compelling) but more in the vein of Pink Floyd after Roger Waters his departure. The other 11 compositions sound like a blend of progressive pop, rock and symphonic, very modern and professional. In general the climates change from mellow (featuring twanging guitars, soaring keyboards and pleasant vocals) to compelling and bombastic. At some moments we can enjoy majestic violin-Mellotron eruptions like in Where Can I Go?, I Watch Myself Sleeping and Stranger (tight beat and biting wah-wah drenched guitar). I am mostly pleased with the captivating first song Silenced (almost 10 minutes): a propulsive guitar riff, a part with acoustic rhythm guitar and vocals, fat electronic sounds, a Floydian oriented synthesizer solo and sensitive guitar work.

On this new CD RPWL sounds dynamic and modern, this year they will go on tour and visit countries, from Germany, Belgium and Holland to Poland and even the USA, I am sure they will delight the progheads who like modern prog. My rating: 3,5 stars.

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Send comments to erik neuteboom (BETA) | Report this review (#172677)
Posted Saturday, May 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
progrules
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars So far my only acqaintance with this band was the streamtrack on PA called Opel from their 2003 compilation. I wasn't blown away by it to say the least but decided to give them a try with their 2008 release. After all it's neo prog and I want to check these kind of bands out.

First song appeared to be a true highlight after a few listens of the entire album. It's the almost 10 minute clocking slightly epical Silenced. The song is already pretty good for the first 6,5 minutes but the last 3 or so are almost mindblowing to me. Fantastic climax of a very good song (4,25*). After such an overture you always hope it's the prelude for a great album but that's not the case I can give away already. It's a versatile album in style and quality and I'm not sure if I am too pleased with that. But it is what it is and I will have to live with it I'm afraid.

Second is Breathe in, Breathe out and this song is less compelling than the opener. This song shows that RPWL is actually a borderline case of prog, it's almost pop-like at times but we will come back to that later ! This song is the first example of that but it's a good song anyway (3,25*).

Where can I go ? is actually a song in the same vein as previous, a lot longer though and therefore it seems proggier but I'm not really convinced. The song has the same sort of flatness their compatriots Sylvan show in many of their songs. At the end the song gets a bit better (3,25*).

Masters of War is a bit of a slow song and after some 3 minutes it starts to resemble On the Turning Away by Pink Floyd a lot. It's hard even to listen through it without keeping thinking about it all the time. It's probably the rhythm that's for a big part responsable for the resemblance (3,5*).

With the 5th I will come back to my promise in the second song where I said I would come back to the statement of this bands poppiness. Here they admit this themselves with the funny title This is not a Prog Song and in the lyrics they even refer to Pink Floyd which proves my statement in previous song. A very honest song in the sense of what this band is about obviously. And even though this indeed is not a prog song it sounds quite nice (3,25*).

I watch myself Sleeping is a slower track again and here they fall back in their flatness I fear. It's all pretty accessible what this band does. Except for the vocals it resembles Coldplay every now and then, not quite an insult in my opinion but another proof of the borderline progressiveness of RPWL (3*).

Next the second longest track, called Stranger. This is more of a versatile and much more progressive song with some great rock elements as well as more quiet parts. Second highlight on this album, great track (4*).

After this, the shortest track, Alone and Scarred, is a sort of remix of several other songs, bit spacey and messy, not really RPWL I would say. But ok, obviously they felt like producing this (3*). Appears to be a bonus track by the way. Strangely placed somewhere in the middle of the album (??)

Talk to the River is a fine ballad and they prove they can also do something like this (3,25*).

Choose what you want to look at is a fast and furious one and proves to be a track of my liking. Though most songs are accessible I must admit it's not a boring and monotonous album. Good song this (3,5*).

Turn back the clock is again more ballad-like another less interesting one at first until towards the end two fine guitar solos saves it a bit and makes it end up in a good song in the end (3,25*).

Reach for the Sun is another bonus track, another more quiet and slow song and alas another flat one (3*).

After doing the maths it appears what I was already afraid of: right in the middle of 3 and 4 stars. I was already puzzled about what I was going to give it and it's indeed a headache case. I'm afraid I will have to round down for three reasons: first, the exact average is 3,45. Second, the bonus tracks don't really lift the album and third reason, the description of a 4 star rating is: excellent album to ANY prog collection and that is not the case here. Good but non essential (3 stars) sounds better but the album is surely better than this description. And I would still recommend it to lovers of the more prog related category.

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Send comments to progrules (BETA) | Report this review (#194960)
Posted Thursday, December 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars What an album! RPWL was brand new to me when I first picked up this album. It is definitely more mainstream than some may like,but I am a sucker for a great melody. That is where I feel this album really delivers. After listening to the album, you find yourself humming the melodies for the rest of the day. There are no real epics that stretch out and display incredible musical chops, but that isn't what this album is about. This album seems to be more concerned with solid song structures that are moody and heavily textured. You can hear shreds of Floyd and Porcupine Tree, but the overall sound is all their own. If you are a fan of prog that isn't afraid to sounda little mainstream for the sake of the music, check it out.

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Send comments to KayleighsDad (BETA) | Report this review (#198462)
Posted Sunday, January 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the Prog Masterpiece !

This album is definitely one of the masterpieces in my thousands of prog rock album collection. This is not because the singer sounds like Pink Floyd but because their music is simply the one that strikes everybody who likes "music". If you hear this album, surely you will be hooked by Masters Of War which is a cover of Bob Dylan's, but this cover is by far better than that of Pearl Jam's or others. As this case shows, RPWL is not a prog hero but a modern music hero of today. This album has everything that prog fan prefers. Five star.

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Send comments to Katsuhisa (BETA) | Report this review (#914666)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars I heard RPWL described once as prog-lite. While it is indeed true that they are at ease with synthesizer-lush pleasant-sounding tunes with Pink Floydian overtones (the atmospherics and both the clean and stratospheric guitar work), see Turn back the clock. But here they both mix it up with some metal and heady structures. The best example is the opener Silenced, with starts with a very cool lone guitar riff that segues into metal, then very melodic part, then a sudden screaming section that follows with similarly unexpected trance breakdown and a mesmerizing Pink Floydian solo. Stranger is another, less impressive example of the this metal-meets pleasant neo-prog approach. Also of note is the very Pink Floydisized (a la Sorrow from 1987) cover of Bob Dylan's Masters of War - talk about a creative approach to covers.

All in all, this is maybe the less known and inconsistent RPWL album, but it got some cool tunes.

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Send comments to Progrussia (BETA) | Report this review (#1114353)
Posted Tuesday, January 14, 2014 | Review Permalink

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