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PLANET JUNKIE

Drifting Sun

Neo-Prog


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Drifting Sun Planet Junkie album cover
3.88 | 104 ratings | 6 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Within Your Bones (4:14)
2. Planet Junkie (5:45)
3. Missing (4:08)
4. Life (1:27)
5. Night Time Sorrow (3:05)
6. Stay With Me (6:55)
7. To Tame A Sta (8:22)
8. I Will Be King (4:33)
9. Born of a Dream (3:54)
10. Diogenes (6:36)
11. Everlasting Creed (10:06)

Total Time 59:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Mathieu Spaeter / guitars
- Pat Sanders / keyboards, drum programming (10,11), composer & producer
- Manu Michael / bass
- Will Jones / drums

With:
- Marc Atkinson / vocals (1-3)
- Colin Mold / vocals (5-7), piano (5)
- Joshua Corum / vocals (9-11)
- Eric Bouillette / strings (7,9)
- Sarah Skinner / saxophone (1,8)
- Ben Bell / Hammond organ (8)
- Conrad Cheng / clarinet (11)

Releases information

Artwork: Karen Koski

CD self-released ‎- DSA006 (2019, UK)

FLAC download - bandcamp.com

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DRIFTING SUN Planet Junkie ratings distribution


3.88
(104 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(32%)
32%
Good, but non-essential (28%)
28%
Collectors/fans only (10%)
10%
Poor. Only for completionists (6%)
6%

DRIFTING SUN Planet Junkie reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I have been left with no choice but to come out of reviewing retirement as there are musicians out there who have asked me to continue to write about their most recent accomplishments. First up are my old friends Drifting Sun, a much maligned Neo-prog band with a solid history of releasing thrilling albums that hit the spot each and every time. Leader and keyboardist Pat Sanders has been a FB friend for quite a while and after losing his lead vocalist Peter Falconer last year to health complications , he was in need of finding suitable lead lungs to adorn his ornate compositions , having already enlisted Joshua Corum of Head with Wings, so I recommended 2 of , in my view, the top British vocalists out there, namely Marc Atkinson of Nine Stones Close, Riversea, Moon Halo as well as Colin Mold (Kara, Karnataka and solo). Pat promptly checked them out, felt that they would be perfect fits and presto, the channels of communication kicked into gear! ''Planet Junkie'' comes on the heels of the brilliant ''Twilight '', a neo-prog masterpiece that transcends the label by offering passionate, romantic and intense music, showcasing more and more of Pat's piano mastery. Could this new album be even better? In fact, the setlist is very interestingly set up with each vocalist given three consecutive tracks to express their craft, with Pat doing intermezzos in between , a brilliant chapter-like experience that only enhances the enjoyment of the magnificently constructed songs.

We are introduced to the Marc Atkinson trio of songs, featuring this tremendous vocalist who has adorned a slew of progressive albums that have earned high marks for quality, a voice that transcends any genre, full of romance and passion . ''Within Your Bones'' kicks off this masterpiece with a moody opener, synths and voice propulsing the band ever forward, Marc's hushed voice easily morphing into more powerful exuberance when called upon, sealed by a Andy Mackay-like sax solo from Sarah Skinner and a sizzling Matthieu Spaeter guitar solo that has a little Phil Manzanera feel to it. Pat tortures his synth for good fortune. The title track holds nothing back, a rollicking effort that chugs along at breakneck speed, ushered along by their veteran, well-oiled and manic rhythm section of bassist Manu Michael and drummer Will Jones . Pat and Matthieu combine to put some melodic meat onto the arrangement , the later slapping a wicked propulsive solo to boot, before Marc does some vocal gymnastics that few could reproduce, imitated by a whistling synthesizer for good measure. The crowning achievement is the melancholic ''Missing'', a gorgeous melody that showcases Marc's voluptuous voice, in delicate agony, ballads don't get much better than this! Curling guitar arpeggios and a delicate organ humming in the background serve as the initial platform for a typical Atkinson delivery, where the instrumental intensity is matched by the booming vocals. Matthieu lets loose on his axe, explosive and feathered , enough to send shivers down one's spine.

In memoriam to his father, Pat created this touchingly brief instrumental called ''Life'', a brilliant piano etude that transcends time and space, evocative and sublime.

Colin Mold is one of the most underrated musicians in progland, a terrific multi-instrumentalist who can shine on guitars, bass and violin but its his haunting voice that really hits the mark, a surreal blend of Peter Gabriel and Justin Hayward (talk about icons). His 3 solo albums are absolute must-haves in my opinion, surely an accomplished artist that fully deserves wider recognition and reverential accolades. His work here should entice more than one listener to explore his craft as he does justice to the three allotted tracks that bear his stamp. Truth is both Pat and Colin seemed to coalesce as one in creating these pieces, kindred spirits in so many ways, definitely far from being rock stars but most assuredly dedicated musicians. Just listen to the crushingly timeless ''Night Time Sorrow'' , a masterful duet with Pat on piano and Colin's vaporous vocals and the light will shine brightly into your soul! The epic symphonic nature of ''Stay With Me'' is utterly beguiling, Colin putting on quite the performance, aided by a lead guitar-led chorus that will drop the jaw of any music fan, a level of unmatched passion that gives this band its credentials and its credibility. The extended acoustic guitar solo is liquid beauty, the voice spectacular and the overall impression, indelible. Beauty shines on ''To Tame a Star'', contrasting voices as Colin emotes vividly while his whispered hush occasionally enters the fray , the instrumentalists showing off their considerable skills, Matthieu ripping his electric guitar unashamedly while guest Eric Bouillette shines on violin, then giving the spotlight over to Pat to deliver quite the synth solo, short, sweet and killer! Colin's trio of tracks are simply majestic, coming across as a complete gorgeous whole.

If anyone doubts these guys have the chops, the thrilling ''I Will Be King'' settles the case quite convincingly, as the musicians display a furious bravado that pulls no punches, throwing in Ben Bell into a delirious organ solo, as well a series of exciting solos from the lead instruments. Wow!

Joshua Corum was previously unknown to me but Pat's choice was clearly dead on, as he has a different voice with a higher-pitched, more modern slightly American tone that suits the material just fine. The trio of songs selected for him are laden with altering complexity, moodier and perhaps more eccentric. Pat's piano introduces ''Born of a Dream'' , a seductive fragility emanating from Joshua's pained vocal, acoustic guitar adding to the frailty. A weeping violin courtesy of Eric Bouillette adds drama, while the rhythm section takes a well-deserved break at some nearby pub. ''Diogenes'' is pure prog delight, naming Plato, Socrates, Diogenes and the 'Academy' as influences, while the music salts and peppers dissonance with hints of Gentle Giant, as Joshua navigates the lyrics with steadfast passion and insistence, Matthieu's gripping axe shredding mercilessly, as Manu and Will keep the brisk pace with zest and gusto. He ends the album on a fabulous 10 minute romp, that is both explosive, humorous, breathtaking, at times shrill and excitable and ultimately intoxicating. ''Everlasting Creed'' delivers all the proggy goods, combining manic , breakneck instrumentation, colossal vocals and profound lyrics , as well as infusing a unexpected clarinet spot (Conrad Cheng) , another wicked guitar solo (man, can Matthieu play!) .

Drifting Sun continues its meteoric path and to Pat's credit , he has always displayed the uncanny ability to entertain by keeping predictability locked up in some Safe Asylum (sic), which makes the band so unique among prog outfits. Never boring or safe, Drifting is certainly far from their twilight (sic) , as their future cannot be brighter . Pat gambled on a new course and with a little help from his friends, the result is clearly spectacular. Massive, rapturous and continuous applause to all those who participated in this splendid cosmic adventure! I encourage all fans to travel to ''Planet Junkie'' and be ready for quite the discovery.

5 User constellations

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The latest Drifting Sun album, Planet Junkie, feels like a bit of a transitional release for the resurgent neo-proggers. From their comeback album (Trip the Life Fantastic) to 2017's Twilight, which I consider to be the band's masterpiece, Drifting Sun enjoyed the services of Peter Falconer on lead vocals, but he is absent from this release.

In interviews, Pat Sanders (the band's keyboardist and sole consistent member lynchpin over all its incarnations) has explained that this was due to Peter's commitments to his PhD studies making it impossible for him to devote sufficient time to the band, though to my knowledge Falconer himself has not made any public comment to confirm or deny this. Either way, Falconer's departure presents Drifting Sun with a problem; his obvious vocal talents were a significant ingredient in the band's revival, and in addition as lyricist he also helped tie the albums together thematically (with Twilight being a masterful example of this).

Whilst many bands would make recruiting a new permanent lead singer a top priority under such circumstances, holding off on an album release until someone had been recruited, Drifting Sun have adopted a novel strategy here: Planet Junkie is an album of three sections of three songs each (with the instrumentals Life and I Will Be King as palette-cleansers between the sections), and each section has a different vocalist performing songs in a somewhat different style. Marc Atkinson kicks us off with some harder, heavier tracks, Colin Mold takes the second act in a more gentle and haunting direction, whilst Joshua Corum wraps things up with some more whimsical numbers, with album closer Everlasting Creed having a pinch of theatricality to it.

It would perhaps be better to think of Planet Junkie as a triptych of EPs than a single album in its own right; each section is decent enough in its own way, and the album certainly gives Drifting Sun an opportunity to exercise the full range of their talents. At the same time, it's questionable whether this format presents a long-term solution to the departure of Falconer; it very much feels like Drifting Sun are pondering which direction to take their work in next, and are doing us the favour of letting us listen in to their sketches of where they might take things in future.

In short, Planet Junkie might be the weakest album at least since Drifting Sun's 2015 return to action, and might even be the weakest album in their discography. That sounds damning, but given the high standard they have maintained so far, it really isn't: in fact, the album's pretty good for what it is. At the same time, I can't put hand on heart and say that the troubled circumstances surrounding the lineup don't hamper the album in terms of it being a cohesive release.

Review by kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Reviewer
5 stars According to the Bible (as described by Record Collector), 'The Progressive Underground Vol. 1', I first reviewed Drifting Sun in January 1997 when they were a very different beast indeed to what I am listening to now. Pat Sanders (keyboards, drum programming, composer and producer) and bassist Manu Michael are of course still there, as they have always been, but while drummer Will Jones has been around since the band started their second phase in 2015 and guitarist Mathieu Spaeter has also been there for a few albums, they appear to have misplaced singer Peter Falconer who has been with the band in recent years, and instead they have brought in three new vocalists. Step forward Marc Atkinson, Colin Mold and Joshua Corum who each get three songs. I really appreciate the album has been constructed so we have a singer for. The first three songs (Marc), an intervening instrumental, another three from the next singer (Colin), instrumental, and then the final three (Josh). It allows the ears to adjust to the new voice and provides far more continuity than one might expect.

I really enjoyed 'Twilight', and Pat Sanders and I have been in contact quite a lot since then, so I knew something of what to expect with this album, but I must confess I was somewhat surprised to hear the major step change as this is a huge step forwards in every direction. To my ears this is easily the finest Drifting Sun album I have heard so far, as they take their neo prog and crossover influences and create something which is incredibly polished, dynamic and simply beautiful. All three singers add real polish to the album, but there is one song which absolutely stands out for me, namely "Born of a Dream" which is primarily Pat on piano with Josh Corum (Head With Wings) on vocals along with some gentle acoustic guitar. Pat wrote the song for Josh as he knew what he could do with the material, then asked Eric Bouillette (The Room, Nine Skies) to also become involved with it, and his response was that he was too busy but as the song made him cry he would do it! When I first heard it, I felt so moved that when it ended, I felt quite empty, so I had to play it again as it was the only thing which would fill the void.

This is a sublime release, modern and progressive with pop tendencies here and there, wonderful songs performed by strong musicians with three amazing singers at the front. Complex, complicated, yet somehow simple all at the same time, this is certainly an album which is highly accessible yet also repays repeat listenings. Absolutely essential.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Known with "safe asylum" that gave a good slap to the neo-prog genre with a guitarist aware of its form, I expected the last album with avidity. Here, after a few well-taken tracks, the record lacks a bit of character, the songs being listened to without too much connection and lacking a little ... (read more)

Report this review (#2352299) | Posted by alainPP | Saturday, April 18, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love Safe Asylum, Twilight, and Trip The Life Fantastic. They are the three excellent Drifting Sun albums, and the heart of the catalog. Planet Junkie is another outstanding album, but I do miss the vocals of Peter Falconer. He has a style that sets Drifting Sun apart from other groups in the ge ... (read more)

Report this review (#2263124) | Posted by javajeff | Monday, September 23, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Review # 108. I discovered Drifting Sun with the release of Trip the Life Fantastic, and I have been following their releases since then. I don't know how they do that, but with every new release, they become better and better. The band's new album is Planet Junkie, which, in my ears soun ... (read more)

Report this review (#2261771) | Posted by The Jester | Monday, September 16, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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