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Mystery - Lies And Butterflies CD (album) cover

LIES AND BUTTERFLIES

Mystery

Neo-Prog


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5 stars What an excellent album - MYSTERY appear to have encapsulated all that has gone before and upped their game with this release, with a superb production that enhances the overall effect. Having read some of the reviews elsewhere I was really looking forward to this release, and it has not let me down. What struck me more was the taurus pedals given more emphasis which in turn appear to add a new dimension as well as the lush keyboards that one has come to expect, the 'jangling' picked guitar, the driving, the complex drumming and the familiar vocals. At times vaguely reminiscent of RENAISSANCE or STYX amongst others, an oddity though is the aural link to YES and FLY FROM HERE especially during the opening track... Whilst the opening 6 tracks fly past in their sumptuous glory, it's only the final track 'Chrysalis' that, in my opinion, falls short. This album certainly gets my vote for being the best release of the year (so far). A definite 5 star rating.
Report this review (#1948886)
Posted Tuesday, July 17, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the Canadian proggers' seventh studio album and second with vocalist Jean Pageau fronting the band. I thought their last album Delusion Rain was very good and Lies and Butterflies is a progression from that. It has seven tracks and total playing time of just over 64 minutes. The first and last tracks are both 15 + minutes long.

The first track Looking For Someone Else starts off like a live track with the audience clapping and shouting, but soon dies away thank goodness and the music gets going. To my ears Jean Pageau voice sounds impeccable. He can sing loud or quiet with equal clarity and feeling. The guitars, keyboard and drums really shine through and there quiet, peaceful and loud parts to this track, quite epic and Mystery at their best.

Next track, Come To Me starts off with some nice acoustic guitar and gradually builds to a crescendo near the end. Next it's How Do You Feel? Which is the shortest track. This is a ballad type song with some truly excellent guitar work and the first time I heard it I was blown away. This just might be my favourite song on the album. Something To Believe In continues with some excellent singing and the band giving their all. Dare To Dream is all about dreaming of a new life and thought it was a very well structured song. Continuing the dream theme next it's Where Dreams Come Alive, which is about daydreaming and at start of the song there is excellent bass guitar, very nice. Finally it's Chrysalis which is about a couple enjoying the delights of a forest and the life of a butterfly.

I found this Mystery album very enjoyable, with some excellent songs, well sung and backed by some first class musicians making it a pleasure to listen to. It's an easy four stars.

Report this review (#1949441)
Posted Wednesday, July 18, 2018 | Review Permalink
rdtprog
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Heavy / RPI / Symphonic Prog Team
5 stars "Lies and Butterflies" is the logical suite to "Delusion Rain" with seven tracks from 6 to 15 minutes. The line-up today is the most stable since the beginning. The band has never been so in control live, and this could have influenced their studio performance. The sound has never been so polished, the playing better and after listening to the cd many times, the songwriting of this one could be the best the band has released. The airy guitar of Michel St-P're is gorgeous as the magnificent flute and vocals of Jean Pageau. The music is going from the emotional ballad atmosphere to the heavy guitar riffs sometimes in the classic rock style. The Neo-Prog of Mystery delivers some long instrumental symphonic parts with orchestral arrangements, strong choirs, and beautiful piano lines. The album is not very different in terms of songwriting style from previous albums, but there's at times a strong melancholic mood and at other times a dark feel that grabs me a little more in this album. First, how enjoyable is the piano-acoustic guitar/flute break in "Something to Believe In". And what about the dreamy keyboards lines with a crescendo building up with the drums and the guitar in the song "Dare to Dream". In the suite "Where Dreams Comes Alive", it's time for the bass to steal the spot before the flute break where the music goes into a pure IQ style. The album ends up with a song of epic proportion starting with acoustic atmosphere first part and a heavy second part in an intense final section. Only the 5 minutes song "Come to Me" did nothing for me with is straightforward style. Solid 4.5 stars!
Report this review (#1950289)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2018 | Review Permalink
1 stars Mystery is a typical example of a band that leans back in satisfaction. The sales will be high, fans are adoring the band. It's understandable the band wants to retain this success. But to record an album with really 0.0 progression? Lies and Butterflies is no more or less than a long stretched version of the previous albums. A total lack of creativity, in my opinion. This is also apparent from the ever-repetitive tunes. In the first 4 minutes of the opening track, a simple tune is repeated 28 (!) times. And then the lyrics. "Come take my hand", "The world goes round and round". Come on, Mystery, you can do better, much better. A disappointing and boring album?
Report this review (#1977524)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2018 | Review Permalink
4 stars Review # 89. Almost a month ago, the Quebec-based Neo-Prog band Mystery, released its 7th studio album, which is the 2nd with Jean Pageau on vocals. Since I enjoyed all of their latest albums, (starting with Beneath the Veil of Winter's Face), I added this new album of theirs almost immediately to my collection.

The album opens with the 17-minute long Looking for Something Else, which is really something. Maybe it could be a couple of minutes shorter if they were trying to avoid the - unnecessary in some occasions - repetitive tunes, but it's ok; I can live with that. The album closes with another long song, the 15-minutes-long Chrysalis, which also could be a little shorter in my opinion.

Further than the 2 epics, 'Lies' include 5 more songs, all of them melodic and beautiful, in the usual style of Mystery. This time the band followed the same musical path and presented an album that will definitely satisfy their fans, and the fans of Neo-Prog as well. The voice of Jean Pageau is excellent once more and it matches perfectly with their music.

Lies and Butterflies is (in my opinion) a very good album, not only for the fans of Mystery or Neo-Prog, but also for people who can appreciate a melodic album, with beautiful and - on many occasions melancholic - tunes and easy going turns and twists. Without being something groundbreaking, it is a really enjoyable album. Give it a try!

Favorite songs (so far): Looking for Something Else, Something to Believe in, Dare to Dream, Come to Me. My Rating: 4 stars.

Report this review (#1977683)
Posted Monday, August 13, 2018 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars 2018 sees the band back with their latest album, and for once there has been only a slight amendment in the line-up, with keyboard player Dupuis replaced by Antoine Michaud (who wasn't even a twinkling in his parents eye when the band started out!). Michaud first joined the band as replacement guitarist for Moineau in 2014 when the latter was unable to undertake a European tour, before then being contacted in 2016 and asked to join the band in a different role. With the band being the most stable in many years, it probably is little surprising that this feels very much like a sequel to 'Delusion Rain', but with the band understanding each other even better than before, and allowing themselves to relax into their roles.

Pageau is a wonderful singer, and with the confidence that only comes from successfully touring overseas, he really shines on this album. During 'Looking For Something Else' he produces an incredible performance, backed with only an acoustic guitar, while he then provides flute himself as the piano comes into play. Mature and simply beautiful, this is an accomplished performance, and as he cranks it up and the band kicks in, the following guitar solo is perfectly paced with huge drive, taking the song to a totally different level. That is one of the two long songs on the album, which bookend five somewhat shorter ones, all seven showing just how much Mystery have changed and grown since I first came across 'Theatre Of The Mind', released some 22 years previously. Of course, only Michel St-P're has been at the helm of the good ship Mystery throughout, and he has chartered a course through to a glorious album that I have enjoyed immensely.

Report this review (#1999217)
Posted Thursday, August 23, 2018 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I enter the first listen of any new MYSTERY album with no expectations. I am always surprised by the rich and consistent sound the band has used over the course of its career. This is the first time that that sound may be feeling a little old, a little tapped out.

1. "Looking For Something Else" (16:54) opens with crowd cheering and clapping before a "door-shutting" noise and acoustic guitar harmonics section and acoustic piano section ensue. It sounds like diddling around on stage while the concert fans empty from the stadium. After about 90 seconds the little impromptu rift is taken over by the full electronic band. Impressive cohesion, however, after another two minutes of this single arpeggio riff being repeated and bashed about, I find myself looking (hoping) for something new, a shift or variation. The music does empty down but flute and piano and acoustic guitar perpetuate the riff while Jean Pageau enters to sing. Piano and acoustic guitar continue to carry "the riff" while the instrumental lineup and dynamics go through some shifts. Chorus. Electric guitar solo. Return to full band and vocal push of "the riff." In the seventh minute things lay back again, though the bass remains thick and there is still an occasional power chord, so that Michel can really sink his teeth into a long guitar solo. It's okay; nothing very new or super-exciting. And yet it continues. For four minutes. Synths take a laid back turn in the lead. When things finally settle down in the eleventh minute, church organ leads us in, but then piano and acoustic guitars take back the lead in a soft, delicate "Confusion Will Be My Epitaph" section over which Jean sings. The King Crimson inspiration continues with flute and Mellotron (making it even more blatant) until things explode into full "orchestral" mode at 13:25. Nice vocal, nice lead guitar solo follow (still following the "Epitaph" melody lines). It's different enough that I can let go of the blatant "lift" of the music. Plus, the players feel so emotionally connected to this section. It's pretty damned good even if it is borrowed. Great drum and bass play throughout. (9/10)

2. "Come To Me" (5:17) sounds too much like a WHITESNAKE song. Too filled with sonic and structural clichs; one or two catchy riffs or chord progressions do not make for a great song. (7/10)

3. "How Do You Feel?" (4:53) pretty chords gently played by multiple guitars and keys set up Jean Pageau for an emotional vocal--which he delivers in spades. Perfect power, perfect melodies, perfect lyrics. Great guitar work in the rhythm and solo departments throughout. A MYSTERY masterpiece. (9.5/10)

4. "Something To Believe In" (7:34) Oh, oh! A Colin Tench song! At least, that's what the opening suggested. The stripped down, country-rock verses bely something a little different but not far off my original impression. Man! Michel St-Pere can play guitar! Maybe even better than Colin could! Drums are a little too busy for my tastes, don't really work in this mix. Electric piano arpeggi segue into a new section with a bit of a classical feel--even guitars and flute maintain that feel. But then a power chord from the electric guitar serves notice of a return to rock 'n' roll. Joe Walsh-era EAGLES come to mind here. (7.5/10)

5. "Dare To Dream" (6:54) Synth-strings note and dated electric piano chords open this slow song before cymbol play and guitars join in to support the vocal. Again, the song stays in such conservative, formulaic territory that I find myself disappointed, even turned off. Great little guitar solo at the very end of the second minute. Both the verses and choruses are failing to bring me in. I'm so sad! Nice instrumental section in the fourth minute and usual great lead guitar solo in the fifth. Sensitive scaled back section in the sixth minute over which haunting synth solos. Vocals return in harmonized multiplicity but they aren't grabbing me! Such ambivalencies! (8.5/10)

6. "Where Dreams Come Alive" (7:26) electric guitar and electric piano arpeggi provide an opening background over which Michel's lead soars for a few seconds before we switch into second gear with chunky plucked bass line and syncopated drumming. The vocals enter over this. It's not working. Guitars and keys join in and still it's not quite clicking on all cylinders. Michel's occasional flourishes on lead guitar are magical but once again they cannot float or fly a poorly constructed ship. I would like to see more future compositions using more of Jean Pageau's flute. (8.5/10)

7. "Chrysalis" (15:08) opens softly before bursting into a long introduction of a theme that feels familiar from one of the previous songs. Things then quiet down in the second minute for some nice acoustic guitar work. A minute of this with support of synth washes and we're finally introduced to the vocal. There's a BLUE YSTER CULT Spectres feel to this one (more specifically, "I Love the Night"). Song builds in the fifth minute and then breaks down for the delicate, heart-felt "Butterfly, spread your wings and fly" section. Then a sudden shift takes us into a heavier, metallic section of power chords, searing guitar, and almost growling vocal narration before Jean's more-projected vocal soars in the foreground. At 8:35 the dominant riff shifts to bridge us to another delicate, dreamy section (though a chunky bass continues at the bottom--as if to remind us that this is a scary story) with nice melodies from guitar and vocal. This is intermixed with alternating returns to the "Godzilla"-like guitar power chords. Even Michel's guitar solo over this heaviness has a Buck Dharma sound and feel to it! The twelfth and thirteen minutes maintain a nice albeit still heavy chord progression beneath which the drummer has some show-off time. Then we shift into a heavy yet full-orchestra feeling final section over which powerful Jean's vocal carries us to the delicate end. (8.5/10)

Four stars; a nice addition to any prog lover's collection (though not as good as some of Mystery's previous releases).

Report this review (#2024977)
Posted Thursday, September 13, 2018 | Review Permalink

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