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RICK MILLER

Crossover Prog • Canada


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Rick Miller biography
Richard Norman Miller

Canadian composer and multi-instrumentalist RICK MILLER made his debut effort as a solo artist back in 1983 with the new age production Starsong, which shifted a highly respectable 30.000 units at the time. He would follow up this venture with Windhaven in 1987, and his efforts Interstellar Passage from 1998 and the EP No Passion, No Pain from 2009 would continue exploring similar musical territories.

But after honing his craft working at Sound Design Studios in Toronto throughout the 80's and 90's, Miller wanted to have a go at his true musical love as well, atmospheric progressive rock inspired by artists such as Pink Floyd, The Moody Blues and Steve Hackett.

This lead to a flurry of releases following the start of the millenium: The One (2003), Dreamtigers (2004), The End of Days (2006) and Angel of My Soul (2008). These efforts gave Miller a good reputation, and in 2009 he was signed by Canadian indie label Unicorn Records. His first release for this label was the 2009 effort Falling Through Rainbows.

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RICK MILLER discography


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RICK MILLER top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.58 | 12 ratings
Starsong
1984
2.31 | 13 ratings
Interstellar Passage
2000
3.19 | 17 ratings
The One
2003
3.42 | 26 ratings
Dreamtigers
2004
3.55 | 23 ratings
The End Of Days
2006
3.88 | 42 ratings
Angel Of My Soul
2008
3.96 | 38 ratings
Falling Through Rainbows
2009
3.68 | 39 ratings
In The Shadows
2011
3.89 | 73 ratings
Dark Dreams
2012
3.91 | 52 ratings
Immortal Remains
2013
3.91 | 157 ratings
Heart Of Darkness
2014
3.77 | 73 ratings
Breaking Point
2016
3.69 | 40 ratings
Delusional
2018
3.92 | 72 ratings
Belief in the Machine
2020
0.00 | 0 ratings
Unstuck in Time
2020

RICK MILLER Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RICK MILLER Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RICK MILLER Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Best of Rick Miller
2018

RICK MILLER Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 3 ratings
Paradox - Electro Leftovers
1985
5.00 | 1 ratings
No Passion No Pain
2009

RICK MILLER Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Belief in the Machine by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 72 ratings

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Belief in the Machine
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars Canadian Rick Miller is back with his fourteenth album, two years after 'Delusional'. This is very much a continuation of the change in style he has been working on recently where there is much more of a rock element within his music, and his band is the same as the last album apart from this time around only Barry Haggarty provides guitar, as Kane Miller is no longer involved. Given Kane has been a mainstay since Rick's fourth album, 2004's 'Dreamtigers', that is quite a shift. But Haggarty's relationship with Rick goes back even further, while flautist Sarah Young has also been involved for more than 15 years. Both drummer Will and cellist Mateusz Swoboda also have a long history with Rick, who describes this album as being "in the genre of what I would call Progressive Rock. That term defining the type of music that was made famous throughout the 70's by bands such as Genesis, The Moody Blues and Pink Floyd."

To be honest, that is a pretty good description, Rick (who provides vocals and all other instrumentation) used to be thought of as more dreamscape and cinematic, yet while there are still huge Pink Floyd influences within this, there is also plenty of the more dreamy Eighties The Moody Blues. It is an incredibly easy album to listen to, with strong guitars throughout which provide a welcome edge as only a Stratocaster can do, but this contrasts against the rest of the music which is far more sedate and relaxed.

This is the eighth release I have reviewed from Rick over the years, and I am surprised he isn't more widely known as he continues to deliver album after album of great progressive rock music in a more relaxed tone, and is someone I enjoy hearing each and every time. Just seeing the name Rick Miller on a CD makes me know that here is something of quality, and it is not often that can be said these days. I have never given Rick a poor review (I really ought to seek out the early albums at some point), and there isn't going to be any change this time, as this is yet another superb relaxed album from a wonderful musician and arranger. He provides great songs, knows exactly the vocal style it needs, and brings it all together each and every time. Superb.

 Belief in the Machine by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 72 ratings

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Belief in the Machine
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by progpositivity
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Almost everything about this album reminds me of Pink Floyd's output from the 1970's and later.

1) There is a very smoothly spacey and atmospheric layer of keyboards throughout. 2) Keyboard leads are very similar to those heard on Floyd's classic album "Wish You Were Here". 3) Most of the electric guitar leads sing and soar expressively in the style of David Gilmore. 4) Even the lead vocals are lushly understated with a timbre surprisingly similar to that of David Gilmore. 5) There is a certain melancholy vibe which resides in a moody territory close to that of classic Pink Floyd

This music has some differences from Pink Floyd that are worth noting.

1) Spoken word passages will call to mind memories of The Moody Blues. 2) Some of the passages which feature flute performances by Sarah Young may evoke memories of The Moody Blues or Camel (but not Jethro Tull IMO). 3) On this album, Rick does a better job of presenting a coherent story line for this concept album than Pink Floyd ever did. 4) Despite a similar melancholy vibe shared with Pink Floyd, this music from Rick Miller feels more fueled by a social stance which believes that a "better fate" can be achieved if citizens heed warnings from artistic works which explore depictions of oppression resulting from misunderstandings of and mistreatment of non-conformity. (In contrast, Pink Floyd's music sometimes depicts struggles with undercurrents of sarcasm, bitterness, fear, hopelessness, self-loathing and insanity.) Thus, this album, while weighty in subject matter and stylistically similar to Pink Floyd, is more likely to leave you with a smile on your face and hope in your heart than a replay of DSotM or WYWH.

This album is very well produced and mixed. The instrumental performances are delivered effectively.

That said, listening to this album felt more like a tour of a very "well trodden" classic prog pathway than it did an exploration of anything very new or different.

 Belief in the Machine by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 72 ratings

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Belief in the Machine
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars The endless enigma (hello ELP) of progressive rock continues to prove itself as a valid reality, the sheer size of its history and ongoing legacy remain astounding. Even after 50 years , I still unearth hidden jewels that I kick myself for not picking up on earlier, but I understand that this is what happens when you have a global phenomenon that will forever offer new discoveries. Such is the case with Canadian composer and multi-instrumentalist Rick Miller, who has created 14 releases since 1984, the first 2 being more electronic relaxation music but veering fully into prog with ''Dreamtigers'' back in 2004. Ever since then, Rick has been pumping out albums at a steady pace (average every second year), using the same seasoned crew, namely one of Canada's top session guitarists in Barry Haggerty , Sarah Young on flute , cellist Mateusz Swoboda and his friend Will on drums. His style of choice happens to mirror mine: a romantic, emotional, heart-felt melancholic, cinematographic soundtrack that can be dark, brooding, haunting and focused on powerful melodies that seep into the spirit and conjure deep images. Having seen the glowing reviews on PA, I took the jump to read some of them and I realized I had been missing out on something right down my alley (the power of reviews from trusted sources). I recently purchased his latest ''Belief in the Machine'' and I am red-faced with shame, as this is quite the find, being exactly the type of prog I have always adored and continue to do so to this day.

The artwork for his albums is quite evocative and this one is no exception, as it mirrors the fabulous music inside, Rick showing no mufty-flufty tendency to gently entice, going straight for the jugular with the epic 11 and half minute opener ''Correct to the Core'' which lays out all the characteristics of his musical style: a somber cello slithering into the soul, Floydian textures that seek to haunt (namely vocal sound effects), a forlorn bass rumble and Gilmourian flourishes , all coalescing into a hard binary beat and an explosive and mesmerizing guitar rant. Rick's hushed voice takes centerstage, crafting the savvy melody that will guide this track through multiple developments, piano leading the way, bass following obediently behind. Clever lyrics parallel the crafty arrangements, everyone getting to solo: guitar, cello and flute, a perfect 'mise en place' that sets that table for the amazing ride this album is.

A trio of shorter pieces seek to expand the sonic palette , first up the flute-driven gorgeousness of ''That Inward Eye pt1'' which has a melody that is irreproachably magnificent , then the brief title track, a straightforward , guitar-fed rocker with a simple gait and ended by ''The Land and the Sea' , a brooding , percussive setting that serves , in my opinion, to set up the masterpiece track, the devastating and immediate classic prog of ''The Need to Believe'', a hybrid mix of Pink Floyd and Moody Blues , owner of a crushingly evocative melody that with bring tears of happiness to the romantic-inclined progger, armed with a Barry Haggerty Stratocaster foray of the finest vintage and a chorus to match: celestial, searing, hopeful, melancholic and downright beautiful.

From this moment on, the experimental side takes over, offering up cinematographic instrumental mind music of the highest order, with electronic piano a la 'No Quarter', cello, vaporous synth clouds and the subtle yet pervasive guitar interference , all displayed on ''Prelude to the Trial'' . Another instrumental piece ''Binary Breakdown'' is in contrast wilder and more energetic, adorned with swirling rhythms, cello blasts, looping bass, hard drums, slippery synths and echoing guitar flashes that finally evolves into a glittering axe solo. The melodic content is clearly defined and not a random jam, full of noodles. ''That Inward Eye Pt2 '' reprises the earlier flute melody, a welcome return to pastoral heaven, as cello, string synths and a sweet vocal all merge to create quite the melancholic feel. The choir effects are splendidly detailed, a gentle slice of symphonic beauty.

The angst-laden gloom of 'Media Gods (including the Awakening)' starts out as a symphonic holocaust of gothic choir, devilish flute and cello spurts , synthesized swirls and then an acoustic guitar introduces an atmospheric expanse , the Sarah Young flute nearby as an enthusiastic ally, and excellent intro into the final epic piece, the 10 minute 'The Trial' which elevates the proceedings to exhilarating heights as it spans the spectrum, from gentle to exacerbated, in dealing with creepy lyrics involving paranoia (as per the spoken words), as the puerile piano ambles, the orchestral melodies colliding with more poignant fervour, laden with electronic effects as the harsh beat kicks in, relentless. The vocals return, guitar twirling in a frenzy, with a choir melancholy that really hits the spot, as the attention to detail create levels of enjoyment that keeps the listener on its ears (or toes!).

This album has been a truly gratifying experience, chock full of amazingly crafted melodies, a perfect introduction to a musician I fully intend to help complete my collection, as this is right down my alley. I have already ordered his Falling Through Rainbows release from 2009, which I must say is just as enjoyable. As it stands, this is my favourite 2020 album up to now and I just cannot wait to hear more from my fellow Canadian! Rick Miller needs to be appreciated by a much wider audience.

4.5 System credos

 Belief in the Machine by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 72 ratings

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Belief in the Machine
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by alainPP

5 stars RICK MILLER is a Canadian musician and composer who plays progressive rock music as he likes to define it, referring to GENESIS, PINK FLOYD and also citing THE MOODY BLUES. PORCUPINE TREE is also often spoken, perhaps their first compositions. An airy, fruity, melodic, sweet music with a melancholic line, very atmospheric in any case; some jazzy notes and others almost metal-progressive to spice up the notes a little; some meditative sounds too. It started in 1983 and has released good albums since the 2000s; here his 14th album in which he composed everything, music and speech; an album with finesse; He indeed intends to make music in this vein and he does it very well ... a little belief in the machine actually! 3 tracks are purely orchestral and give off a fairly pronounced ambient side. The titles have an obvious guideline with the two longer at the beginning and at the end, the others are quite short but are linked in an agreed and unstoppable order. There is an atmosphere ranging from the best ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, PINK FLOYD, PENDRAGON, the atmosphere quite dismal, cold but oh so melancholic in the good sense of the term of the best ANATHEMA. The instrumentation turns a little on the sound of AYREON when using the flute, a little of Steve HACKETT's guitar towards the 2nd part of the album. A digest of tunes from the albums of "The Wall", "And Then There Were Three", with these long orchestral symphonies embellished with keyboards.

The instrumental give a progressive dimension in the good sense of the term by letting your ideas, your dreams develop over the notes; it is not strictly speaking an innovative disc and completely apart, but much more the result of a digest of what Rick MILLER and you too must have heard for quite a few decades. A beautiful musical, orchestral synthesis.

 Belief in the Machine by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 72 ratings

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Belief in the Machine
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by javajeff

4 stars This is another excellent release by Rick Miller. I am new to his music, and have been taking in many of the albums at the same time. Belief in the Machine is up there with his best releases like Heart Of Darkness, Dark Dreams, and Immortal Remains. Majority of his music is top notch, and Belief In the Machine is no exception. Anyone that enjoys the mellow side of Pink Floyd or Alan Parsons Project will automatically feel at home. Belief in the Machine mixes in some media samples and follows a theme that is modern and attainable. The guitar playing is stellar, and the compositions really shine. Starting off the album is Correct to the Core, and it is a great example of excellent composition musically and lyrically. It could arguably be one of his best tracks, but the entire album is solid and flows perfectly. Of courseit has many amazing atmospheric moments as well. If you have not checked out Rick Miller, this is an excellent place to start. Highly Recommended!
 Belief in the Machine by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2020
3.92 | 72 ratings

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Belief in the Machine
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Citing his inspirations as being on the atmospheric side of prog rock (Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Steve Hackett, etc.), Canadian Rick Miller set out way back in 1983 to create music on his own to reflect that sound. Over the years, he has released many solo albums. Over the past few years, he has made it a pattern to release an album every two years, so in February of 2020, he released the digital version of "Belief in the Machine" with plans to release the CD around March or April of the same year. This album runs close to 50 minutes and features 10 tracks with Miller playing almost all of the instruments, but he has help from a few people like Sarah Young on flute, Mateusz Swoboda on Cello, Barry Haggarty on Stratocaster, and someone known as Will on drums and percussion.

"Correct to the Core" (11:35) starts off the album with his preferred style of beautifully crafted atmospheric music, the cello and bass standing out at first creating a nice beginning landscape. The music builds and a guitar amps up the intensity a bit. After a nice solo, Rick begins to sing, and right away you notice a resemblance to the airy vocals that are similar to David Gilmour. The music is actually built quite well as a moderate tempo allows the vocal passage to float along. By 5 minutes, the music moves into a smoother, yet somewhat darker sound. The music, right off the bat, is quite appealing and it definitely would be quite appealing to lovers of Pink Floyd, especially in their later years. There should be no time needed to adapt to the music as it is very accessible, the music staying nice and smooth all the way through this track, but still changing in atmosphere with synths sharing equal time with the guitar, but getting the center stage later on in the track. It's nice and not challenging, drawing you in right away.

"That Inward Eye Part 1" (2:22) works together with the second part to bring the center part of the album together with a nice, idyllic instrumental with a lot of flute. "Belief in the Machine" (2:02) begins right away with the same style of vocalization, airy and melancholic. The melody is a lot like the beginning track, the vocals staying in a safe range, with some short burst of guitar in the middle. Another short vocal track "The Land and the Sea" uses a tonal percussion that works as the foundation for the more complex lyrics. The feeling now is of an upcoming uneasiness. "The Need to Believe" smooths things out again with a lighter than air guitar/synth interchange that gives the music a feeling of symphonic bliss. It's a nice texture that feels like something you could float away on. Now, you get the Moody Blues (later years) vibe, sort of similar to "Driftwood", but with guitar instead of sax. After those last, short and somewhat choppy tracks, this one is a welcome and better established, developed track.

The airy vocals can start to sound too much the same, even though they are nice in a way that tributes Miller's influences, but is heartfelt and not a copied sound. Just when you start to think that though, the second half of the album becomes more "instrumentally" centered. "Prelude to the Trial" (4:32) begins with a foreboding tone established by wind effects, a cello and echoing keys. Spoken word recordings fade in and out in the background as the music becomes dissonant and eerie, then things smooth out a bit and become more relaxing. Deep, Floydian guitar starts to come in with a tapping rhythm that solidifies as it continues. "Binary Breakdown" (3:40) grows from the former track with a sawing cello building intensity and then reaching its peak quickly as the guitar smoothes things over. Things pass back and forth between the cello and guitar while a nice beat is established, eventually it is dissembled and we're left with more atmospheric and flowing synths. "That Inward Eye Part 2" (3:28) includes some wordless vocals (sounds female) and then spoken word while the flute establishes its former melody from before, being pastoral again. Later, soft, Alan Parsons Project style vocals lend an airy texture.

Another instrumental "Media Gods (Including The Awakening)" creates a cinematic feels as the synths and percussion build an orchestral flair, the feeling is mysterious with an anxious edge. The flute lets some flourishes float around the atmosphere of the background. An acoustic guitar brings in a feeling of resolution and the flute helps to even things all out again. This switches from major to minor key again as it flows into the last track "The Trial" (9:56). Simple keys act as a foundation to the vocals that start off right away. The music continues to portray some story of sorts, with dramatic turns of the music moving from lovely, floating passages to darker and heavier sections, more spoken word at times and so on. The lyrics seem to indicate that paranoia is involved, the singer believe the police are coming for him for something he claims he didn't do. After four minutes, a beat is finally established, and we get that APP feeling again, nice floating and synth heavy music. Vocals return before 6 minutes with a more direct instrumental backing with atmospheric guitar and synth.

This is a pretty good album and the music definitely reflects that of the stated influences. I can't help but feel that some kind of development is missing especially in the shorter tracks in the middle. The beginning and ending tracks are great and more epic, but "The Trial" almost feels like it could have been a much bigger concept, probably even taking up an album with its ideas and quick changing themes. I think most listeners will be attracted to the music right away, but unfortunately, it tends to lose its punch after repeated listening. The music is well produced, though, and quite enjoyable. For now, I think it deserves a 4 star rating, but time will tell if it can retain that (in either direction, better or worse).

 Delusional by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.69 | 40 ratings

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Delusional
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 2018's 'Delusional' (love the artwork) contains the same line-up as for the last few albums, but one thing to note is that Kane Miller is no longer stated as providing acoustic guitar, but a Telecaster while Barry Haggarty continues to provide a Stratocaster. There does seem to be a higher use of keyboards on this album than previously, and some songs such as "The Garden Of Forking Paths" seem to be more Floydian than previously although it does more in and out of different styles, but there is still plenty of emotion and atmosphere contained in much of what he is doing. The electric guitar sound is superb, with the solos cutting through like a sharp knife, very Gilmour-esque.

There are times when it appears that Rick is trying to move slightly away from the more atmospheric cinematic backdrops for which he is more well known, but it is never too far and never for too long. There appears to be less flute on this album than what I have become used to, so am not sure if here we are hearing an artist in transition, or if he is just pushing the boundaries a little with this release. Since he came back into the scene with his second album in 1998 (his debut was some 15 years earlier), he has continued to release a series of albums which are full of class and great songs, and he isn't showing any signs yet of slowing down. Definitely one of my favourite artists, if you have never come across Rick before this then you really need to do so.

 Breaking Point by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.77 | 73 ratings

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Breaking Point
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars 2015's 'Breaking Point' had the same line-up as the previous year's 'Heart of Darkness', with glorious guitar mixing with the flute and keyboards to create an atmospheric soundscape. There are times when the music is incredibly cinematic and at times quite orchestral, almost as if he has been working with Richard Wileman (now there is a pairing who would produce an incredible album together), containing elements of the psychedelic Sixties and mixing that both with folk and Floydian elements. As with all of his albums I have heard, this is music to get lost inside, music which is far more than just a series of notes and phrasings.

The flute is used sparingly, but when it comes in it creates an additional element of beauty as opposed to Ian Anderson's breathy attack. One is never quite sure where the music is going to lead, as the percussion can be quite different in its approach at different times, while the symphonic keyboards may well be replaced by picked or strummed acoustic guitar with the Stratocaster only making its presence felt at the absolute opportune moment, when it can easily be imagined that Gilmour, Latimer or Chandler are in the house. This was Rick's 12th studio album, and I have never been able to understand why he isn't more widely known, as he continues to produce progressive rock music of very high quality indeed, and I have yet to heard an album of his that I haven't enjoyed immensely.

 Dark Dreams by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.89 | 73 ratings

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Dark Dreams
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars 2012's 'Dark Dreams' saw a new flautist in Nancy Foote, but apart from that the line-up was the same as for 'In The Shadows'. From the very first song, 'Return To Uqbar' there is the impression that Miller is taking a step to move slightly out of his comfort zone. Although for the most part the Floydian and symphonic elements are still here, but here he is definitely pushing the boundaries of his own musical envelope, from the sue of middle eastern influences through to harsher guitar solos and a brooding darkness that sits underneath the music. There is a far greater sense of dynamics on this album, and I can see why it has gained more popularity among critics than the two albums which preceded it. Me, I thought they were incredible pieces of art as they were, and there was no need for change, but this allows the listener to hear a different side of Miller. As well as highly complex layers, he is also content here to put vocals against piano and cello in a way that is more reminiscent of acoustic and folk acts that someone who is generally thought of as being a crossover prog musician.

There is definitely a confidence in the album, as one would expect from someone who has been consistent both in his musical approach and in the personnel he has used on his albums, of which this was his ninth. As with his previous album, this was released in a gatefold sleeve with all the lyrics and an inner, just as if it had been put out on vinyl and been backed by a major record label. It certainly deserves that approach as yet again this is an album of real majestic symphonic melodic delight. I rarely see Rick's name mentioned on the multiple progressive groups I belong to, which is a massive oversight, as he has consistently produced wonderful albums which I can listen to repeatedly with great pleasure each and every time.

 In The Shadows by MILLER, RICK album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.68 | 39 ratings

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In The Shadows
Rick Miller Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars 2011's 'In The Shadows' saw Rick move to the Russian Mals label, but apart from that it was pretty much a continuation from the previous album, except he also brought in Barry Haggerty who provided both Telecaster and Les Paul guitars. One might expect a more dominant guitar performance from this, but musically this is a direct follow-on from the previous album. given that I loved 'Falling Through The Rainbows', that can only be a good thing as far as I am concerned! Yet again we have plenty of symphonic Floyd style influences, mixed with elements of cat Stevens and Alan Parsons. These are relaxed songs with vocals at the centre, as opposed to long instrumental workouts. Those looking for lengthy guitar histrionics or shredding will have to look elsewhere, as this is all about albums that are reflective, with a fragility that makes them feel like a spider's web in the rain.

Incredibly melodic, there are times when the flute and mellotron combine to make me think of a fresh summer's day, and Rick's gentle vocals bring back memories of Greg Lake at his most pastoral.. There aren't too many harsh or heavy dynamics, and when the electric guitar is allowed some space it really does seem as if Gilmour is sat there with a smile on his face having fun. The complex layered arrangements, particularly among the vocals, may seem cloying and over the top to some, but to my ears it is absolutely perfect, and sat listening to this in the dark of the night seems the absolutely perfect time to be doing so. I sit here listening to this on repeat, nice large gin and tonic in hand, and have a great big smile on my face as it such a perfect album in oh so many ways.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition.

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