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RPWL - Tales From Outer Space CD (album) cover

TALES FROM OUTER SPACE

RPWL

Neo-Prog


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Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German band RPWL are into their third decade as an active band now, still going on strong and continuing to develop their accessible and melodic approach to the art of progressive rock. "Tales From Outer Space" is their ninth studio album, and will be released in March 2019 through German label Gentle Art of Music: A label the band set up a few years back to release their own music as well as albums by other artists.

RPWL started out as a Pink Floyd cover band, and while they have developed quite a bit over the years remnants of that sound are still a part of the music they create today. There are numerous key differences though, and for starters RPWL as of 2019 isn't as dark as far in terms of mood and atmosphere. Where the most popular varieties of Pink Floyd can be both dark and borderline oppressive, RPWL appears to favor melancholic moods for starters.

As an album experience, this latest one is a trip into seven subtly different realms. Opening cut and lead single 'A New World' arguably the most impressive of these, with effective use of darker, harder guitars with and without organ support, alternating with a delicate vocals and Mellotron arrangement.

Otherwise we have material that is borderline AOR here, not too far removed from, say, "Hold Your Fire" era Rush, slower paced majestic progressive rock in the Floydian vein; while a song like 'Not Our Place to Be' is a most suitable companion piece to 'Swords and Guns' from RPWL's previous album. The band also dips their toes into a more typical neo-progressive landscape along the way, before concluding with a vocals driven, effective and charming ballad that develops into a darker, melancholic creation with a subtle but noticeable nerve to it.

The space associations from the album title plays out in a few different manners here, and the use of cosmic sounding keyboard effects is a part of this. Not that this is anything new to the band, but perhaps given a slight heavier emphasis here and there this time around. Other than that my impression is that there are a few possible nods in the direction of both Andrew Latimer (guitar solo) and Eloy (keyboards) here and there, although if they are accidental or planned will probably remain an open question. And, of course, mix and production is impeccable throughout.

RPWL continues to develop as a band, but the changes and alterations are mainly subtle. Those who tend to favor the more accessible aspects of Gilmour-era Pink Floyd is still my impression as a key audience for this band, along with those who are existing fans of RPWL obviously. "Tales From Outer Space" isn't an album that will convert those who didn't enjoy this band previously, but if accessible, melodic and atmospheric laden progressive rock is your thing, this album is as good as any other in terms of discovering whether RPWL deliver music you need - or not.

Report this review (#2119235)
Posted Friday, January 18, 2019 | Review Permalink
TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars RPWL is a Neo-prog band that has been releasing albums since 2000. Before this time, they existed as a Pink Floyd cover band, but matured in through their performances to the point that they started writing their own songs. March of 2019 give us another studio release called 'Tales from Outer Space'. There are two original members still with the band, Yogi Lang on vocals and keyboards and Karlheinz Wallner on guitars and bass. Originally, these two band members made up the WL portion of the band name RPWL. Since then, two others have been added to the band to replace the other original members, namely Markus Jehle on keyboards and Marc Turlaux on drums. This album consists of 7 tracks (or as the album cover notes '7 Episodes Beyond Belief!'. The entire run time is just under 50 minutes.

The album begins with the first single released from the album called 'A New World'. It is a good way to introduce their style of Pink Floyd inspired music, and the guitar accompaniment to the vocals sounds very Floydian. The song itself is similar to a space rock style, with nice effects, some great synths, and nice moderate beat. The music is quite accessible and Lang's vocals are very listenable. The guitar solo towards the last half is really nice. The moderate beat and feel continues through 'Welcome to the Freak Show'.

'Light of the World' is a bit more emotional and has a lusher melody, but features the mellow guitar of Wallner that echoes so much of Pink Floyds softer sounds. The instrumental break loses the percussion and is a nice atmospheric sound. After a soft vocal section, things intensify more and tension is built in the keyboard backing. But things don't really develop past the overall moderate sound that has been apparent throughout the album thus far. The music of Pink Floyd would have developed past this consistently medium sound by this time. Because of this, the music sounds more like 'Mostly Autumn' than it does 'Pink Floyd', just another band trying to capture the mellow side of another band that is actually much more dynamic than that.

The musicianship is good enough and the music is also, but it doesn't really progress past that slow and pensive sound, which was only just one aspect of Pink Floyd's music. It's okay that they wear that comparison on their sleeves, but wouldn't it be better to explore other aspects of PF's music than just playing one style, or at least making their own style. Anyway, it's good music, but there is nothing new or special about it, it's just accessible, medium tempo music in the end, that begins to sound too much alike from one track to another. Average rating.

Report this review (#2171110)
Posted Thursday, April 4, 2019 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Sometimes years can seem to just fly by, and I can't remember the last time I heard a new album by RPWL, but I clearly remember reviewing all their early works going back to the debut 'God Has Failed' back in 2000. Actually, I can trace back a little further than that as RPWL were formed out of Violet District and I reviewed their album back in 1996! RPWL were always seen as one of the more Floyd-like bands of the progressive scene, and in many ways that hasn't changed as they are still a main influence, but it took me ages to work out who else the band were reminding me of. I thought I was going to go insane until finally I realised that some of the way the keyboards were being played were nothing else than eighties Manfred Mann's Earth Band! I'm not sure I have ever referenced MMEB in the many thousands of prog reviews I have written over the last 30 years, but there you go.

As with the other albums I remember, RPWL have a knack for bringing together classic Floyd in a way which is instantly accessible and enjoyable. This is music which is incredibly easy to listen to without ever becoming easy listening. Yogi Lang has a wonderful voice which is reminiscent of Gilmour, Lake and Wetton, with plenty of gravitas and emotion. Kalle Wallner's guitars always seem to be at exactly the right place in the nix, either providing strident guitars or melodies, while at others he is linked in perfectly to allow Yogi to take the lead role either with his keyboards or vocals. There is a great deal of space contained within the arrangements, so there are passages where there are no drums, with the bass just providing gentle contra melodies.

It has been some years since I came across RPWL, and it is obvious that has been very much a musical oversight on my part as this is a delicious progressive rock album, that can happily be put on repeat and allowed to stay that way all day. There is just enough edge to get rid of the saccharine and is an album I have enjoyed playing immensely.

Report this review (#2234025)
Posted Saturday, June 29, 2019 | Review Permalink
2 stars I used to like RPWL a lot. I guess that was somehat 10 years ago.

The last two albums really couldn't rock my boat. Yogi's voice started to irritate me (like Steve Hogarth) and Kalle is in my opinion a mediocre guitar at least.

Listening to this new album only made me realize that RPWL is not my band anymore. I can't go into detail to much. It just sounds dull, generic, mediocre. It sounds like they are going through the motions. It lacks soul, it lacks emotion, it lacks playfullness. It's just plain dull. Sorry if I offend the fans of this band, it's just my taste. It must have changed dramatically these past 10 years.

Report this review (#2242122)
Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2019 | Review Permalink

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