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Leap Day - Skylge's Lair CD (album) cover


Leap Day


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3 stars Well it has passed a short time since first LD album.

I nice work.

Good melodies,instrumental arrangements, sound quality.

I find here very strong influences from ANCIENT VISION specially in the vocals melodies and vocals expressions.

Other influences i feel here are Pendragon and of course Flamborough Head.

I listen to this album and feel the pleasure of listening to a good neo prog album of Pendragon,Ancient Vision or FH....but is this music very original?

I don ,t feel so.

Well originality is not the most important thing in music.The most important thing is to be likeable and enjoyable ...and I love for example The Watch(Genesis best clone band).

So considering the lack of originality and the nice melodies and performance : 3 stars

Report this review (#412797)
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars As I continue to listen and assimilate the songs on this new Leap Day CD, I find myself wondering if I still hear the bit of Supertramp influence in the songs that were on "Awaking the Muse". It seems it's still there, but a lot more subtle.

For one thing, the songs on this new CD are not quite as simple and straight-forward. And that's a good thing, I think. It shows something I admire in a good band (and Leap Year by rights are a good band with alot of potential to stay around and make lots of music): versatility. Lots of good bands lack it, and wind up rather cranking out the same thing. Same ideas, just re-arranged somewhat.

Not so with these boys. Just on the opening track "The Messenger", there are enough starts, stops, and changes to make this something of a mini-opus, but it isn't credited that way. Which again is ok by me.

This CD is - compared to "Awaking the Muse" - a lost "looser" feeling, and not so heavily structured. There's a nice bass lead here, lots of excellent guitar work (yay, Eddy!) all over the place, and with 2 keyboardists, you know you're going to have more than enough textural layers (but not overdone one iota mind you) to keep things lush but not mushy. There's an edginess to this CD that I really like that puts a bit of a "zing" into the songs.

I don't believe it is a better CD than AtM. Just a nice LEAP forward. Keep it up, boys.

Oh! And I loved the little "outro" at the end: "Eddy!! SUPPER!!!" "Oh. Ok." "Fucking noise...." ah ha ha!! Sounds alot like my house when I was growing up and my brother jamming while our dad was trying to get his attention.

Overall rating: 4.25 stars

Report this review (#415261)
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars A great leap forward!

18 Months ago Leap Day surprised me with their debut album 'Awaking The Muse'. The beautiful melodies and their exceptional way of song writing grabbed my attention right away and it has never let go since. Now they've come up with 'Skylge's Lair', their second studio album. I bought it after their concert in Blue Note, Poznan (Poland) which was overwhelming. So is their newest album!

The Messenger The song starts out with a tense sequencer and the voice of someone, lots of different sounds, screaming children and builds up to the basic theme of the song: an intriguing guitar melody. Then Harteveld's vocals take the lead in a rocking and lively song. (9/10)

Road To Yourself This song builds up slowly. Harteveld is probably at his best here. Beautiful vocals, especial the part after the very inciting symphonic intermezzo (''and the next day is like the day before''). (9/10)

Home At Last The song starts with a typical Leap Day tune, very tasteful written and performed. The kind of tune that keeps on spinning in your head all day long. When the vocals come in the song is very rocky! Then there is this beautiful bass solo. Peter Stel is a superb bass player! I loved him punish his bass guitar during their live performance in Poznan! (10/10)

Humble Origin The shortest track on the album is an instrumental. Beautiful played (and written) by Mulder. This man is a guitar virtuoso who reminds me of Hackett. The Flower Kings also come to mind in this song. Only guitar and mellotron on this one. (10/10)

Walls I knew this song already because it is on YouTube for a while now. What a superb song this is! It starts with a heavy theme (which returns at the end of the song in a beautiful tender reprise!), followed by only piano and vocals. After that an overwhelming 7/8 theme occurs, ending in a very symphonic apotheosis towards the end theme. And the end theme is just awesome!! 'Awaken' of Yes comes to mind right away! Brilliant song! (10/10)

The Willow Tree A beautiful song by Jos Harteveld. Only vocals, guitars and mellow strings. (8/10)

Skylge's Lair The title song is also an instrumental one. When I look at the cover of the album the song is all about an island or so. It starts with seagulls and a waving sea and then the theme starts. This is one of the most uplifting instrumentals I've heard in a long time! Great guitar work of Eddie Mulder and a delightful key solo. I don't know which one of the keyboard players does this solo, but because Gert van Engelenburg wrote this instrumental I assume he did this solo as well. Great work! (10/10)

Time Passing By A very good ending to an awesome album of these Dutch musicians! With a surprise at the end of the disc, showcasing the band's feel for humour! But you figure that out for yourself. (9/10)

All in all a masterpiece! This one will end on top of my list for 2011 for sure. No less than 5 well deserved stars!! And hopefully soon back in Poland for I can't wait to see those guys play again!

Report this review (#415602)
Posted Monday, March 14, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not a bad effort, but somewhat lacking originality and diversity.

The 8 songs on Skylge's Lair, the second album by Dutch band Leap Day, have all a definitely melodic neoprog flavour, with a predilection for accessibility and melodiousness over complexity and technicalities.

Featuring two keyboard players in the ensemble, keys and synths play an obviously important role in laying down the texture of the songs and in defining the overall sound of the album. Unfortunately, the type of sound that is often chosen by the keyboardists is not entirely to my taste and it sounds slightly outdated. Guitarist Eddie Mulder also features prominently on the album and does a very fine job, especially in the soulful solos and guitar breaks that abound in all songs. There are also several exchanges between guitar and keyboards, with the latter used to repeat melodic lines first proposed by the guitar, and vice versa. However, in my opinion this does not always work as intended and results quite monotonous at times. Jos Harteveld's voice is convincing in the quieter passages, but not that much when the songs gain pace and would demand a more powerful approach. In fact, I believe that the vocal department is the weakest link on the album, and I am afraid to say that I enjoy much more the instrumental parts (such as the title track) than the ones that contain vocal melodies.

Overall, Skylge's Lair is a decent album, and I certainly enjoyed spinning it a couple of times. However, it does not do enough for me in terms of originality (this sounds too much as a standard 80s/90s neoprog release to be considered an 'excellent addition to any prog rock music collection') and diversity (most of the songs have similar sounds, pace, and structure, with the poppish ballad Road To Yourself and the short acoustic instrumental Humble Origin being welcomed exceptions).

Report this review (#476442)
Posted Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars LEAP DAY, from Holland, was formed in 2008, consisting of veterans from the Dutch Neo-progressive scene. They were signed to Polish label Oskar in 2009, and their debut album "Awakening the Muse" was given a generally favorable reception. "Skylge's Lair" was released in the spring of 2011 and is their second full-length production.

If I should sum up this disc in one brief sentence, it would be that it is as smooth as silk and as soft and elegant as that fabric is too. The melodies are pleasant, and those fond of dampened harmonies will get their fill and then some. Personally I tend to enjoy material with a bit more contrast and nerve, but I can easily see this disc as one that will find its way onto many a list of the most beautiful CDs of 2011, in particular amongst fans of neo-progressive rock.

Report this review (#542434)
Posted Wednesday, October 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars I entirely agree with the words of the member Lukretio (review #476442), the second albun from the Dutch band LEAP DAY, entitled "SKYLGE'S LAIR", in spite of the quality showed by the musicians from the band, and some moments of beautiful melodies, demonstrates a lack of creativity and audacity. Due to this fact the disk was not capable to call my attention, on the contrary for certain moments the disk is very tedious, of such form which I can't highlight any track. . Only due to musicians skill and the very brief moments like in the overtures of track's 1 "The Messenger", 3 "Home at Last" and track 5 "The Walls", which save the disk of total failure, My rate is 3 stars !!!
Report this review (#544113)
Posted Thursday, October 6, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every now and then a little gem presents itself. I'd never heard of Leap Day before, and then there was this airplay on Morow radio and I was pleasantly surprised and curious right away. So I bought the album immediately and I must say the cd has rarely left my player ever since.

Skylge's Lair is a must have for all NeoProg and Sympho lovers. There are eight great songs on the album. No groundbreaking stuff, but very enjoyable and of a high quality standard! Some say there is a lack of creativity, but I would say the opposite! They don't reinvent NeoProg, that much is true, but the way they manage to give their own twist on the genre is superb to my ears. Listen to Home At Last, or Walls, or the title song which is an instrumental. And then there is this beautiful little instrumental called Humble Origin. Just amazing!

If you like lots of keys and great guitars, if you like very strong melodies and emotional vocals, this one is definitely your cup of tea. Four and a half stars for the music and a half one for the beautiful artwork. That makes 5 twinkling Dutch stars.

Report this review (#584550)
Posted Thursday, December 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Recently I discovered this band from Holland. Their latest effort (From The Days Of Deucalion, Chapter 1) made a big impression on me so I decided to dig into their back catalogue.

Skylge's Lair is another beautiful album! The first thing that I really like are once again the gorgeous melodies that are to be found on this record. Somehow they manage to compose songs that keep on lingering in your head all day long. But if you take a look beyond those melodies you will discover very complex and well crafted compositions. It is an almost hidden quality of the band because the melodies in itself are just so obvious. I think the neo-prog label isn't suitable for this band. Leap Day is more a symphonic prog band although I have to admit there are some neo elements present. The song 'Walls' is a good example for this. The structure and the use of instruments clearly show that we're dealing with a symphonic rock band here. The song itself is a real masterpiece! Other highlights are 'Home At Last', 'Time Passing By' and the title track 'Skylge's Lair'. The last mentioned song is an instrumental track that really stands out! It has everything you want to be present in an instrumental song: a great theme, variation and superb solo's of both guitar and keys. There are no weak tracks on this album. Only the hidden track at the end could have been left out as far as I'm concerned. I don't like hidden tracks and this one has nothing to offer. It's more of a musical joke actually.

This album is another gem from the Dutch proggers Leap Day. Highly recommended to all sympho lovers in the field. 4 1/2 stars!

Report this review (#1136905)
Posted Tuesday, February 25, 2014 | Review Permalink

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