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Bulbs - On CD (album) cover



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PSIKE Team & Band Submissions
4 stars This band was initiated by guitarist and composer Neil Campbell, who is equipped with a classical background. He already attracted my attention with his NEIL CAMPBELL COLLECTIVE some years ago - the project had released two albums in 2005 respectively 2008, but does not exist anymore. The experimental and eclectic approach still marks a real asset to my prog rock collection. Now BULBS features prolific musicians again, though yet provided with a more common rock music instrumentation. Apart from the acoustic guitar here and there, this album certainly sounds less classical, orchestral oriented. However, again, there is a melting pot of influences to state. The music does not serve anything for the mainstream, to make it clear.

At a first glance I was inclined to say that Neil Campbell clearly dominates 'On' with his multiple and multi-layered guitar contributions. Acoustic and electric moments are given in a relatively balanced manner - definitely virtuoso and varied, since he covers the entire spectrum from melancholic heartfelt right up to metal riffing. With delay though ... gradually ... when listening closely, samples and electronics, presented by newest member Marty Snape, are also pushing forward, including lots of spacey patterns and other restrained, but well-appointed spots. And it might be also important to mention, that credits for composition and production are assigned to the complete band - touche! Drummer Joey Zeb and bassist Andy Maslivec are doing a great job here too, that's for sure.

Well, this finally means, because resulting from a fruitful teamwork (I'm sure about that), the full package sounds rounded, yes! Let me recommend to listen in one go, to consider this an epic. Although not clearly designated as a concept album 'On' bears some sort of golden thread. Some evidently nice themes/melodies are repeatedly given throughout the album, a recognition value which plays a part in contributing to a pleasurable feeling after a while. The short Lament is a duet featuring spheric synths amd melancholic guitars. Some songs like Future Cities are celebrating a heavy rocking pace. Furthermore you can also detect King Crimson adopted impressions on USA.

My personal highlights (at the moment) are the charming They Control The Weather as well as the groovy Illuminate - conducted by a driving bass, mysteriously lurching between a dramatic and relaxed mood. At the moment ... that means, this CD will definitely enter my player again in the future - there's still something undiscovered, I'm sure. 'On' is a successful effort with a unique flavour, represents a new piece of sophisticated rock music, compelling, challenging, melodic and accessible at once. In short - substantial food for prog gourmets.

Report this review (#976702)
Posted Wednesday, June 12, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars UK quartet BULBS was formed in 2011 and is based out of Liverpool. Their stated goal is to "bring together adventurous music-making with information and sound samples chosen to challenge the audience to look around them at the world in which they are living", a goal they have mainly sough to reach while performing live within a multimedia context, if I understand the band's description correctly. "On" is their debut album, and was self-released in June 2013.

Neil Campbell is a high quality guitarist and a skilled composer to boot. His excellence on the acoustic guitar in particular is given lots of room to shine on this production, paired off with subtly or sharply contrasting themes where the electric guitar, keyboards and electronics are given more room. With a high quality rhythm section backing him the end result is an intriguing one, difficult to place within a defined subgenre context but well worth checking out by those who tend to enjoy innovative progressive rock in general, especially those amongst that loosely defined audience that have an affection for plucked acoustic guitar details.

Report this review (#1073950)
Posted Thursday, November 7, 2013 | Review Permalink

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