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4 stars Product's second album is Aire, a concept album based on the life of Galileo and about a personal struggle between church and science. The album contains seventeen songs divided into two acts. The first act is about the frustrations of trying to be somebody in a material world void of answers. The second act is about the conflict between church, science, and politics. Like Product's debut On Water (released in 2000), all of the music was written and performed by Arman Christoff Boyles (vocals, guitars, keyboards) and Scott Rader (drums and bass), with a few guest vocalists and musicians.

Again, like On Water, Aire is constructed in a very Floydian-like fashion, consisting of many mellow, spacey pieces with louder sections interspersed throughout and the occasional use of sound effects. The strongest comparison of the music to other bands are definitely Porcupine Tree and, as noted before, Pink Floyd. On occasion it sort of resembles Marillion's Brave in places. However, even with these influences, Product stills sounds like its own thing and a number of the songs are quite original.

Of the seventeen songs, highlights include the radio-friendly (in a Porcupine Tree kind of way) Age of Reason, the complex percussion-oriented Here Comes Tomorrow, the ballad-like Still Here with its haunting piano, the Porcupine Tree-influenced Other Worlds, Fall with its haunting and Floydian feel, and The Calling which resembles a Floydian acoustic piece ending with wonderful guitar solo.

I really enjoyed Aire a great deal and find it to be a great sophomore release. Is it as good or better than their masterpiece debut On Water? Not quite. There are a few songs where Boyles' vocals are difficult and drowned out by the music. But the main reason I can't consider Aire to be a masterpiece is that it lacks the energy of their debut. It just doesn't have the punch that would take it over the edge. It's much more mellower and spacier. Even so, it earns a well deserved four stars and would make an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Highly recommended to fans of Pink Floyd and Porcupine Tree.

Report this review (#74072)
Posted Tuesday, April 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
2 stars The band PRODUCT consists of two multi-instrumentalists from the U.S.A. who have put out several concept albums over the years. This is their second record based on the life of Galileo. The album itself is 73 1/2 minutes long with a lot of melancholic, laid back passages that make this a very long listen.

"City Of Gold" opens with birds chirping as acoustic guitar and synths come in. Reserved vocals before 2 minutes. I like when the full sound arrives 3 1/2 minutes in. Some guest strings in this one too. "Age Of Reason" opens with a beat as vocals join in and the sound becomes fuller. Guitar solo after 3 minutes. Some other highlights are "Value Of Gold" which has some energy and life to it. Some good contrasts as well.

"Wonderful Dreams" is atmospheric with vocals. Not a fan of "Other Worlds" but the vocals are very Bowie-like here. "Autumn" is really the only song that has a somewhat uplifting section in it. "Fall" is cool with the samples and atmosphere, some violin too. "Last Word" has some harmonica early before it settles with reserved vocals. "Breathing" ends it with atmosphere and violin to open. It does get fuller as it stays atmospheric.

I do prefer their debut which I gave 3.5 stars. This one is 2.5 stars in my opinion.

Report this review (#247203)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars One thing about listening to so much new music is that even as the album starts I find myself starting to work out what I am going to say. Normally within the first few minutes of an album I can gauge whether or not I am going to like it. By now, you would have thought that I would know better. I first played this album while I was decorating which gave me the opportunity to play a lot of albums back to back very loudly to see what I felt about them. If I hadn't had a paint brush in my hand there is a good chance that I would have turned this off after the first few minutes as it sounded as if here was another laid back almost New Age album. But the gentle beginning gives no impression of the guitars that are going to break through, then gently drift out again.

I soon found that I was spending more time concentrating on the music than I was on the walls. Product are a new band to me, and are a duo of Arman Christoff Boyles (songs, vocals, guitars, keys) and Scott Rader (drums, bass) with some guest musicians. The comparison that one soon starts to make is with Pink Floyd, although there is much more going on in the way of guitars. It is fairly bleak and dark, but also intriguing and compelling. The vocals are there but are mixed so that they often take a back seat to what is going on, which in itself gives the band a sound that is quite different to many.

This is music that is restrained, even when the band are crunching as they do on "Age Of Reason", and is an album that works well on all levels. It certainly made my decorating go a lot better but it is also an album to be enjoyed in a darkened room, listening intently and drifting into their world. It was only on visiting their web site at that I discovered that this is a concept album based on the life of Galileo, and although this is only their second album they have been working together since 1990. Well worth investigation by progheads.

Originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

Report this review (#1008998)
Posted Wednesday, July 31, 2013 | Review Permalink

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