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Tomas Bodin - Eggs & Dogs: You Are CD (album) cover


Tomas Bodin

Symphonic Prog

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4 stars I'm glad that this album, "You Are" by Eggs & Dogs has been added in with Tomas Bodin's solo albums. While it may be more accurate in some ways to consider this a band effort as opposed to a solo effort, it is still the second entry in the trilogy begun with Tomas Bodin's wonderful "I AM".

And there is also the small matter of enabling the reviews and ratings to start coming in without having to wait for another band to be added to Progarchives.

"You Are" is a somewhat different animal than "I AM". "I AM" certainly had it's symphonic moments, but it also had it's hard-rock, Deep-Purple-esque and rock opera moments. In contrast, "You Are" retains some percentage of symphonic elements as well as rock opera vibe, but this time replaces the hard rock with a more Beatles and Queen vibe.

The key here is that, to my ears, the focus is more on the songs. The symphonic (and even near-fusion) sections then grow naturally out of the songs and add interest in key spots. The lyrics are some of the better and more interesting ones I've heard lately and really drew me in - which I did not expect because I am not a big lyric person. "I AM", on the other hand, seemed a little more open-ended and grandiose. You never knew just quite how far the music was going to take you (and it does take you far). "You Are" has at least one foot grounded in great songs.

The playing on this album is stellar as anyone familiar with The Flower Kings and their related projects would expect. The drumming of Marcus Lilliequist never fails to amaze me. He can keep it simple or he can throw in some twisted fill that will make you wonder where "1" is...then will jump right back onto the groove with ease...then he can thrill you with powerful embellishments in the more symphonic sections. Michael Stolt is no slouch on the bass and, similarly to Marcus, keeps it very tasty with lots of forays into more technical embellishments. Jocke Marsh is also amazing on the guitar and plays some very nice solos. Michael Stolt's vocals are not difficult to take in the least - if you happen to be one that was put off by the vocals on "I AM" you need not worry. Michael sounds great, very soulful. And of course it goes without saying that Mr. Bodin's keyboard playing is always the right chord, the right texture...the entire band always serves the songs.

So the rock opera continues...the story/lyrics deepen...the focus is more on songs. A very solid release and perhaps a good jumping in point for the trilogy if "I AM" didn't resonate with you.

Report this review (#257473)
Posted Wednesday, December 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I NEVER HEARD SOMETHING SIMILAR!!! For me, this album brings it to a new level of prog! First of all i must give a big compliment to Marcus Liliequist who drums outstanding stuff!! Hes not the classic symphonic prog drummer a la Peart or Portnoy, also not the floating fusion one - some even say hes straight - but hes different, for me hes very eclectic and his timing is awesome. His use of the tomtoms is amazing as he suprises with new rhythm all the time, his accentuation brings a lot to the song. He's also very fresh with his style and reminds me to many independent acts these days. Which are btw imho a bit underrated by the classic prog audience.

Well, i think all songs on this album are pretty good. It doesnt hide, from the first minute you have uncompromising but gentle guitar sounds and a very sensitive and soulful voice with background choir - giving you very touching and movealong sounds. Then there are the hard hitting, but also jumping and very groovin drums of Marcus. This all leads into a very bombastic and touching chorus wich gives just a great opener. At 4:30 it goes back to a gentle and soft sound. Michael Stolt already shows that he can touch the hearts with his voice. Together with acoustic guitar and wonderful keys, they give a heaven of a sound. Great great part!! (4.5)

2nd song "Poor Lucile" has a wonderful fusion of Sondheim and Alan Parson. Just awesome eclectic prog! The middle part of Poor Lucile is very hard and leading into chaos, but its definitley not over- the-top or just for the sake. If you listen carefully to the drums, this thing rocks the hell out of you. At 7:40 the song goes back on track with wonderful drumming (9:00) leading into this 4th wave structure in the end (10:30) - PLEASE GIVE ME MORE OF THIS GREAT MODERN STUFF YOU PROG ARTISTS OUT THERE!! (4.5-5)

3rd song "Food" starts very atypical, melody is amazing and works great. one of the few prog songs where you can SCHUNKEL-along. Great atypical guitar work. Again great background choir work. Specially at 3:10. Great interlude ... leading into this very marillion'esque swinging dream passage. (4)

4th song, "Dad is coming" is a wonderful melancholic but still rocking song. Great guitar work. With an amazing barbershop vocal part in the middle. Just amazing! And back to the melanchol melody and a great instrumental and choral final. (5)

The hard but fresh drumming of Marcus together with Tomas own radical and more detailed sound vision, it gives a revolting sound of prog. Just listen to the second half of the 5th song "Private Skies" (4-5) and you know what im talking about. This is really some of the best AND MOST OUTSTANDING stuff ive listened to in a long time. And its also different to The Flower Kings or Karmakanic. On Tomas early works there was still heavy classic symphonic stuff. With "Pinup Guru" he already opens the borders for new sounds, specially this cineastic sound he also celebrates on "Cinematograaf". IAM already showed the potential of Tomas and Marcus playing some kind of new sound. And with You Are, they really made it. Very songoriented, sensitive and with absolute meaning.

Tomas, EGGS & DOGS sound on this album is TIGHT and CINEASTIC - the synth sounds are bombastic, flirting, subtile. Sounds like a soundtrack at some parts and great ambient. All the used voices (by fans for example in track 5, the angry Boss) and atmospheric sounds. Together with the great choral vocal work (with the help of Moonsafari) and the warm and normal pitched (singalong) voice by Michael Stolt, it produces a very charming sound - big big musical!!

The guitar work including bass is not outstanding, but its just perfect - just filling out what the song needs and giving little accents here and there. Im very pleased with that. As you recognize that the band plays for the song, and so the guitars just giving perfect entourage and pushing this thing forward. And so i think this is the most consistant work by Tomas up to date!

As Tomas wanted to do a Trilogy (IAM, UR, HESHEIT IS) we could think of some relations to IAM, but where IAM was still using old prog structures, YOU ARE is able to leave the classic structures and presenting something really new - coming close to a PROGRESSIVE MUSICAL. And i dont mean this prog-opera thing, i mean somethig without equal.

The longplayer is very atypical i think, like all the songs. just the 6th track (3.5) is a very straight one, but its in good position before the longplayer. It calms the blood a bit down until it leads you with a great atmospheric cineastic interlude to ... the final 7th song. The longplayer begins with a jumping yet tasty and melodic, then marching and again jumping intro. Then a wonderful eclectic and fresh sounding (Marcus is so good!!) part leading into this extremely cool robotic voice and choral part around the 4th minute. Then it follows this wonderful easy-listening sing-a-long and feel good part. Very atypical prog music and great to listen to. Then a big powerful break leading into a wonderful soft passage. A great bomabstic blues final begins. Great guitar, vocals, keys, drums - just a wonderful and amazing band/work!!

This is a very impressive work - and minimum an excellent addition. Due to Tomas album history and the outstanding style they celebrate here, i give this work 5 stars. CANT WAIT TO SEE AND HEAR THIS THING LIVE!!


Report this review (#295237)
Posted Thursday, August 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars What a great album! From Tomas Bodin of The Flower Kings comes this brilliant, unique release!

Throughout this CD, there is a very consistent flow of keyboard and guitar driven tracks. Each is unique in it's own way, but each one obviously belongs on the same CD. Although composed by a keyboardist, this album has MANY fantastic guitar solos! It has very catchy melodies and amazing instrumentation which is sometimes huge and multi-layered and sometimes as simple as an acoustic guitar with vocals.

A couple of standout points include the opening, with the amazing guitar and vocal noises. It's very beautiful. My favourite part of this album is easily in "Dad is Coming Home". The song just breaks off from it's moody, piano driven self about half-way through and then there's this absolutely astounding barbershop quartet part. I won't spoil it any further, but it's just amazing!

There are great musicians on this album. I love Michael Stolt's beautifully unique voice! All the guitarist involved in this album are also great. The drumming and bass-playing is also very solid!

There are some bad points on the album, which is why I do not feel like I can give the 5 stars of "masterpiece". The final song, "Silicone Bimbo Run" goes on for too long and isn't that interesting untill the second half in my opinion. I also don't feel that "American Standards" and "Private Skies" are as great as the rest of the album. They're still fantastic songs, but feel a tad lacking compared to the four at the start of the album.

In conclusion, this is a fantastic, accesible and incredibly solid release! I recommend it to any fan of Symphonic Prog. It's brilliant.

***** songs; "You Are", "Poor Lucille", "Food" and "Dad is Coming Home"

**** songs; "Private Skies", "American Standards"

*** songs; "Silicone Bimbo Run"

Final Rating - 4.2, highly reccomended! Very engaging but with some slight flaws.

Report this review (#306387)
Posted Sunday, October 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow this album is just fabulous from the first listen, this album should be in the top 10 best albums of 2009 and should be heard by all, this album unlike of I AM that was more oriented to the Hard Rock Progressive is an album more in the vein of bands like ELO, Yes, Alan Parsons Project, The Beatles and a great sound of modern progressive rock, You Are musically and vocally is a jewel, this great keyboard player makes of this album a masterpiece, a highly recommended album, my rating is 5.0 of 5.0 stars.

I using a translator of Spanish to English in my reviews.

All The Best.

Report this review (#325850)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not so much a Prog album, more an easy listening experience with Prog elements. I liken it to a more eccentric form of 10cc, and having recently enjoyed 'Dr. Faith', by Christopher Cross, it fulfils the same role in many ways.

Ironically, when it 'goes' Prog, it's so noticeable (and pleasant, of course) and reaffirms why I like the flavour of Prog.

In addition to sharing similarities to 10cc, I found track 5 to be like Elvis Costello (not so good then), and the 21 minute last track to betray bits of Flower King music (not surprisingly), but ultimately end up with an Rogers Waters' 'Amused to death' ending! Yes, it's a mongrel this one!

I'm happiest when the keyboards come to the fore, but that's not the point of this album/project, is it? So, mainstream 70's/80's Pop/Rock, though sadly nothing too serious. Excellent production and performances throughout however.

Report this review (#457206)
Posted Sunday, June 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars A very well balanced and professionally carried out album with a lot of taste. Michael Stolt, with a surprisingly close voice to Roine Stolt, takes the role of a lead vocal.

The album is stylisticall closed to "Sonic Boulevard" but it's more mature and memorable. After first listening, you will have a better feeling and impression than after "Sonic Boulevard", even though you will feel the same amount of Flower Kings aura coming out of it.

"Private skies" has a certain ELO/Beatles flair to it, no wonder since Tomas Bodin is a fan of ELO. Later comes a nice complex organ/drum dominated section, very symphonic and progressive. "American standards" is very close to Flower Kings but mellow,calm and vocally oriented.

"Silicon bimbo run" is a 21-minute epic that goes for a bit too long but consists of distinctive sections, first one keyboard dominated, then acoutic guitar, vocal harmonies/solo with a slow memorable guitar solo, before getting into a slow/Transatlantic area and translating into a symphonic multi-layered end.

Report this review (#2287326)
Posted Saturday, December 14, 2019 | Review Permalink

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