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FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX

Crossover Prog • Netherlands


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Fourteen Twentysix biography
Essentially described as Dark Progressive Rock, This one man band called Fourteen Twentysix lead by multi instrumentalist Chris van der Linden released the band's first album in 2009 called Lighttown Closure. The music is broody, dark, melancholic and at times quite minimalist.

For any prog enthusiasts who are familiar with Mark Hollis ( Talk Talk and solo work)or Sweden's Landberk then certainly check out the album Lighttown Closure. Cris van der Linden does tour regularly also with a full set of musicians to help bring his great brand of crossover prog to the masses.

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FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 12 ratings
Lighttown Closure
2010
3.61 | 9 ratings
In Halflight Our Soul Glows
2012

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3.00 | 3 ratings
Songs To Forget
2009

FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 In Halflight Our Soul Glows by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.61 | 9 ratings

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In Halflight Our Soul Glows
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Fourteen TwentySix is the child of Dutch talent Chris van der Linden, a man who has a busy musical life, with different proposals but always with satisfactory results. I am a huge fan of 1426's "Lighttown Closure", there are some songs that I really love, that is why I kept my interest in this band and wanted to get their newest album, entitled "In Halflight Our Soul Glows", which features 15 tracks and a total time of 48 minutes of a good mixture of electronic-alternative-progressive rock.

The album opens with a short introduction entitled "Echo", honestly not the best introductory track I've listened. It leads to "Summer Snow" which is a more elaborated piece, with nice percussion, melancholic vocals and a guitar as background. Seconds later the electronic feeling can be appreciated and will prevail until the very end (that is one of 1426's main characteristics). "Sleepwalker" continues in the same vein, a mid-tempo track, a constant guitar as background while drums play and vocals sing. The final minute is pretty good, more chaotic and different. The next song is "For a Second" which starts with repetitive but addictive guitar notes accompanied by drums and the voice. This is an interesting track, I like its changes and the nuances that are being implemented while the seconds pass. If you listen to it with good headphones your appreciation will be better.

"Decelerate" may be one of my favorite tracks here, I find it pretty interesting, sensitive and ambitious, it also reminds me of their debut album. That mixture of electronics with Chris' voice and the guitar is great. After three minutes an acoustic guitar appears and that makes another beautiful moment. "Noon" is a nice instrumental interlude that leads to "Hollow", which is another good song that sums up what 1426 is about.

"Fall From Gravity" has a heavier feeling, maybe due to the bass sound which is more powerful than the previous tracks. There is also a chaotic moment here after 2:30 minutes we can feel some tension and nervousness, which is something I adore in music, so the musicians do the right work and can transmit emotions. This is a highlight of the album without a doubt. "Every Line" is the first of two tracks that pass the 5 minute mark, and it is also the first one featuring a guest voice. Mick Moss of Antimatter puts his grain of sand here, and give a very good result combined with the cool music of 1426.

"Rush_Run" is a short and chaotic track, seems like a pursuit in the first minute and it all vanishes all of a sudden, until in the second minute a piano and the female voice of Vera Dirks appear. The next song is "Little Diamonds" which has a mellow sound and emotional voices, I like the rhythm implemented by drums and the textures the guitars and keyboards produce, this is a good example of progressive (crossover) rock, listen to it and you will understand. "Halflight" is another short piece with delicate vocals, nice acoustic guitar and a tense background.

"The Crossing" is the longest composition here, it perfectly takes all the elements that the band has previously shared on the album and puts it in one song that may be the pinnacle of this release. I love the tension produced by the guitar that sounds as background, while the voice is still soft and mellow, the drums are always accurate and the emotions like a rollercoaster. "23/59" is a short instrumental piece with an atmospheric sound, a relaxing mood. And the album finishes with "Funeral Fire", a song that clearly says goodbye, just one minute and a half of repetitive drums, sweet guitars and a mellow voice.

Well, I wanted to write this review at least 2 or 3 weeks earlier, but I couldn't because I was expecting to get more involved with it, but unfortunately I could not find what I was looking for, I mean, with "Lighttown Closure" I fell in love almost immediately and is an album I play regularly, but with "In Halflight?" I cannot say I love it, nor it is a step forward to 1426, I am sorry if I sound harsh, but when something does not move you, as much as you wish, you will not fall in love. The album is very good without a doubt, but something is missing, that is why my final grade will be 3 stars.

Enjoy it!

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 In Halflight Our Soul Glows by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.61 | 9 ratings

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In Halflight Our Soul Glows
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I was looking forward to the release of this new effort by Dutch outfit, Fourteen TwentySix. I regarded its predecessor album, Lighttown Closure, as an excellent album, if a little bleak. That album was, essentially, a solo vehicle on the part of the talented Chris van der Linden. In Halflight Our Soul Glows, by contrast, is very much a band effort, with the other four members now contributing fully to proceedings.

As with Lighttown Closure, this is an album which demands many listens before putting fingers to keyboard for a review, and the listener is rewarded for such patience.

Aside from the increased involvement of band personnel, the main difference between the two albums is the more accessible nature of this one. For sure, there are some desolate moments here, notably the extremely bleak Sleepwalker which features an incredible blend of sound effects accompanying a doom-laden guitar riff. The album also continues the post- rock sensibilities on tracks such as For A Second, reminiscent to me of some of Radiohead's more tuneful moments in the past ten years or so.

The overall mood, however, is far brighter, and this is a healthy progression (pardon the pun). It's not a bundle of laughs, far from it. Not for this outfit the playful lyrics of an Ian Anderson. I refer here, however, to the overall textures of the music itself. As enjoyable as Lighttown Closure is, it is not an album that you will play regularly - you have to be "in the mood". By contrast, In Halflight.... is an album that I have played, and will continue to play, on a frequent basis. The longest track, The Crossing, is sublimely brilliant and will be a clear highlight of 2012 with its excellent lead guitar, throbbing rhythm, and build-up of huge intensity, before the climax takes us down gently with a beautiful acoustic section.

There is not one track in excess of six minutes on the work, but the band have managed to create a body of work of which the tracks seque into a whole. Take the wonderful acoustic guitar solo of Noon which effortlessly seams into the electronic mournfulness of Hollow, a standout track which combines bittersweet vocals/lyrics, tremendous synth effects, piano, and a throbbing, relentless bass and drum riff at its core.

In addition to the band personnel, there are two guest appearances on the album. Every Line features Mick Moss of melancholic outfit Antimatter. This track is the first single from the album, and is a very effective mix of soundscapes, riffs, and Moss lending very distinctive vocals to a dark track. It is, perhaps, appropriate here to give special mention to Martijn Jorrisen's brilliant bass playing, very much at the fore here, but never anything less than effective throughout the album.

Secondly, we have Rush Run, a track which starts with a massive rush of noise before settling into a lovely vocal by Vera Dirkx, whom I have not had the pleasure of hearing before, but would like to in future. This is a track of contrasts, because the band provide us with an almost industrial wave of noise before a piano introduces Vera singing an exquisitely fragile vocal. It is only 1:50 long, and is, perhaps, the only track where I wish a greater length had been given to us.

It is always dangerous to make predictions in this business, but I genuinely believe that, on this form, Fourteen TwentySix could develop into one of the most important, and, crucially, commercially successful, of the modern European progressive rock artists. Yes, there are shades of Porcupine Tree, Floyd, and Crimson in here, but, really, it is impossible and pointless to classify this act, for what we have here is utterly unique, marvellously performed, and thoughtful with commercial sensibilities (Little Diamonds has you tapping your feet and nodding your head relentlessly).

This album is very much a move forward from the opener, and is never anything less than interesting, thoughtful, and entertaining. Time has clearly been taken in perfecting the various sonic landscapes provided to us, and I for one hope that this patient work will be rewarded.

The album is available as a download for the ridiculously cheap price of ?3 from the Bandcamp site for the band (this is where I purchased it), and a digipack CD is to follow shortly.

Four stars for this. Very highly recommended modern progressive rock.

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 In Halflight Our Soul Glows by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.61 | 9 ratings

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In Halflight Our Soul Glows
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'In Halflight Our Soul Glows' - Fourteen Twentysix (8/10)

Fourteen Twentysix- the project of one Chris van der Linden- has seen quite a development in the time since its last album. With the debut 'Lighttown Closure', the band was essentially a one man outfit; an outlet in which Chris could express himself through a brooding post alt- rock hybrid. As dreary and laid back an album as it was, 'Lighttown Closure' certain opened doors both for Chris and the Fourteen Twentysix. This has since developed into a professional full-band, and as such, Fourteen Twentysix's second album is quite a bit different than they were the first time around. A year in the making, 'In Halflight Our Soul Glows' is no longer simply the work of Chris van der Linden, but now an entire ensemble of talented musicians, and the new wealth of insights has paid off.

Like 'Lighttown Closure', 'In Halflight Our Soul Glows' is a grower of an album, albeit for very different reasons. While the sleepiness of 'Lighttown' took me a while to sink into it, 'Halflight' is much the opposite. Ambition has been in no short supply this time around; 'In Halflight Our Soul Glows' has expanded Fourteen Twentysix into fullblown concept album territory, although the themes within are more abstract than some straightforward narrative. Musically, the thing that 'Lighttown' needed most- that being energy- is handed up in generous amounts, with a more consistent flow of interesting ideas. Although the archetypal prog community may initially turn their nose at the prospect of shorter songs, it really does work in Fourteen Twentysix's favour. There is little to no gap between these songs, and as many of these songs can get quite eventful, the song lengths are deceptive.

Musically speaking, there is a strong pop sensibility here, although- like Porcupine Tree- a prog rock approach is asserted through the way the pieces are arranged and produced. Fourteen Twentysix has never been a stranger to electronics, and there are plenty of synthesized bits of ambiance here to embellish the music. Many guitar lines are layered over like post-rock, but they never take long to get where they need to go. I could joke and call this latest incarnation of Fourteen Twentysix 'Prog Cab For Cutie', as that's certainly the impression that I draw from many of the songs here, particularly one of my favourite songs, the nostalgic 'Summer Snow'. Besides citing Death Cab, Radiohead and even U2 are other bands I could draw comparisons to, although by that same measuring stick, Meshuggah references may even pop up, as evidenced by a quirky break in 'Sleepwalker'.

Chris' voice has always been part of Fourteen Twentysix's sound that helped distinguish them, and that rings true on 'Halflight' as well. His voice has certainly improved over 'Lighttown' and the 'Songs To Forget' demos, and there is a greater confidence to his delivery; once again something that I felt was lacking on 'Lighttown Closure'. On top of Chris' vocal offerings, band mate Tom van Nuenen gives a similar, yet distinctive style of singing to counter Chris, either as a background vocalist, or pulling leads of his own, all to the music's benefit. It's also well worthy of mention that Mick Moss of Antimatter helps play a song here, the single 'Every Line', which is driven by the band's virtually omniscient electronic beats and quirky ambiance.

'In Halflight Our Soul Glows' is a very futuristic-sounding album, and could be compared to what Peter Gabriel did with his album 'Up'. There is a lot happening with this album, but the music is based in a deceptively accessible brand of alternative rock. Not all of the band's experiments work- 'Rush Run' feels like a dabble in noise that misses more than it hits- and as a moderate backlash with the album's pacing, there is the definite feeling that some of these songs and ideas could have blossomed if they were given a little more time to develop and mature. Regardless, 'Halflight' is among the best albums I've heard so far in 2012, and while it may be downright silly to declare so early in the year, I have a hard time believing this won't be somewhere on my top albums list in December. An excellent and enveloping album, and it's been well worth the wait.

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Compelling dark atmospheres wrapped around intense reflective lyrics

"Lighttown Closure" is the latest project from one man multi instrumentalist Chris van der Linden. He is joined by Jelle Goosens on guitar and electronics, along with Tom van Nuenen on vocals and guitar. The studio work is augmented by live drums pounded in an old shed in the countryside during the winter, often rain barrels are utilised, which really adds to the extreme cold stark feeling. The album focuses on intense dark atmospheres that are never overbearing but exude a penetrating chill across the soundscapes. It is not an uplifting album and seems designed to speak to those who experience cavernous distress and sorrow.

The minimalist acoustic sweeps on 'AM' kick things off and soon are joined by stirring synthesizers and Chris's vocals that are restrained and emotional. His tone is very listenable and resonate with the cold beauty of the musicianship. 'After The Storm' continues to build like a foreboding outbreak of dark clouds closing in and there is a definite atmosphere of morose and gloom. It is not as depressing as some music I have heard but this is certainly a sound that is bleak at times, but the melancholy atmosphere is generated by luscious electronic keys and symphonic synths.

'Closing Hours' has an evocative ether of synths and bleak vocals; "Stranded in here with no one around, we all try to find our ways and with fire in our heart." The booming drums are prominent and permeate the sound. This is perhaps the best track on the album with heavier textures and some of Chris's most emotional vocal work; "So many years have passed I have changed so much but I am still right here, and seasons of change the colours have faded, a long time ago."

'Gone Today' is a very sad paean to a lost loved one, which is a young teenage girl who never came home, due to a car accident. The sadness is wrapped in desolate lyrics; "Schools out early, there's no one coming home, forgot to say it's alright, life's not forever you know". The protagonist is attempting to come to terms with the awful agony of the loss; "life looked so promising you know, you never came home in the evening, the traffic light" makes it clear that it was a sudden bereavement without purpose, and the love that was felt is replaced by regrets, bitterness and confusion. Some of the lyrics would really speak to those who experienced this type of loss; "Timeless you are in our hearts you will always be there, your voice coming from the hallway but no one's there." A downright chilling deathly atmosphere enhances this haunting track, one of the best on the album.

'Tonight I' is another slow moving song about the wretched state of losing the love of a companion; "tonight I try to escape the dark but it keeps coming back to me, turning dreams into ghosts, tonight I fell into your arms again, there's no light in your eyes, how can love turn to hate, I was caught in a fire that burned." The strong themes of regret and loss are embedded into the music with sustained synth pads and disturbing melodies that are always mournful. The vocals tend to cry from the soul with a very heartfelt style, that reminds me of Porcupine Tree, Radiohead or Sigur Ros. The guitar riffs are simplistic but effective but the layered keyboards are a real drawcard, and the song seems to draw you into the darkness of its heart.

'Signals In The Sky' has a prominent soundscape of electronica and driving guitars. The lyrics really touched my emotions; "All these years I've tried to build a home, I turn to look at the lines in the sand, they're all leading back to me, as far as my eyes can see, I have come a long way on these lowly feet, I keep carrying." The music builds almost to an uplifiting resonance before the next injection of reflective lyrics. The vocals are higher falsetto and emit sadness of loss with some rays of hope in the lyrics; "there is hope to be found, and I turn my face to the wind". The reflective lyrics are a key feature that explain the album, that is dedicated to a loved one incidentally. The album focuses on the sad feelings we feel in life when tragedy occurs but it is never over bearing and over dramatic trying to ring every suicidal depressive feeling we may feel at one time or another, unlike Kayo Dot's "Coyote". We are allowed to feel down at times and music can wring these emotions from us in a healthy way without making us feel worse than when we started the album. I believe this music is going to speak to many hearts who are going through the trauma of life that rocks our world; "all the broken pieces at my feet, I need to put them back together."

'Descending' is a doomy minimalist electronic saturated track with vocals that are desperate and reflective sung from the core of the soul; "I feel so small in this world, I don't want to leave you all behind, but time won't stop and wait for me, love you promised me we would see, each other again some other time maybe, what happened to the years, sometimes I'm so mad at this world, Iife moves by in a haze of slow motion echoing words, all the things you said speak much louder now and everyday makes sense in the end." Once again the protagonist is reasoning whether life can go on and comes to the conclusion that although things are bad at the present they will get better. It is never handled in a pretentious manner, rather the tracks are sincerely attempting to convey broken lives, trauma and how to come through when the clouds roll across our conscious thoughts. The shadows come over us in times of distress but we are able to move on once the depression has lifted. The protagonist agonises about how much he has taken for granted and it makes sense now but is too late; the exact feelings one experiences when a relationship is broken irreparably.

'White Paint' is very sombre with a soft vocal delivery with real emotion and raw reflections that are haunting and ethereal; "I could never quite find the words, a heart can tell it's all been torn apart, white paint couldn't cover up these scars, white paint couldn't cover up the darkness of our hearts." I like the original thoughts expressed here and the cold starkness of the music echoes the sentiments of grief and isolation. The music is desolate scenery for the sadness of loss; "And all these years that have passed nothing is changed, with the look in your eyes." The protagonist pleads for his lover to return to him but it is hopeless; "You don't want to go, don't go".

'Lashes' begins with electronic synth and a downbeat bassline, with steady brooding percussion. There is more anger in the emotions now as the protagonist struggles to come to terms with the suffering. The lyrics express that the protagonist is despondent; "close your eyes, and don't look back, I see your tears, but don't look down on me, there is nothing here." The pain lasts even after the last song, "love doesn't always lead to the right places, and your eyes tell me it's all over now", this reminds me of Peter Hammill's style especially his solo "Over". The finale is an effects laden hellish suite of dark tones and a chilling wall of sound. Has the protagonist descended into deep depression never to return? It is up to the listener to ascertain his fate but I tend to think from the lyrics that he is on his way out of the tunnel.

At the end of the album each time I play it I feel I have listened like a counsellor to one man's bleak journey where the scars of loss and rejection have damaged his persona. The man is feeling at the bottom of the abyss but he is still ready to move on once the depression has lifted but he needs closure. I didn't feel he was crawling inexorably towards suicide but was coming to terms with where his dark experiences have driven him, but I may be playing the optimist here in a pessimist's world. The frame of mind of the main player, perhaps the artist himself, is certainly fired with rejection that has seared his consciousness indelibly. The demons of his trauma have been taunting every fibre of his being but it is not going to last. He says "I feel a change, show me the way" suggesting he wants to escape and indeed will as closure settles in. I felt that each track blends together almost like one song and perhaps this is something that mars the album as it would have been nice to hear some diversity as the album tends to wash over the listener. It is not a pleasant journey, every track is downbeat and depressive in extreme melancholy, and not full of the emotions I personally tend to focus on these days, but I could still enjoy this album from a distance due to the intensity and definitive darkwave atmospheres.

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is pretty much a one man show by Netherland's own Chris Van Der Linden, although he does get help from four guests with additional guitars, synths, bass and male choirs.There is a picture of Chris in the liner page wearing a disturbing shirt. Speaking of disturbing, the music here is very minimalistic, dark and melancholic. Depressing is another word that fits. And it is constantly this.The vocals are reserved reminding me of the vocals on ANATHEMA's earlier songs that were slow moving and sad.

"I Am" has these faint guitar melodies that come and go as almost spoken words join in after 1 1/2 minutes. Synths end it as it blends into "After The Storm" where it kicks in right away with drums and a fuller sound.Vocals too. It settles after 3 minutes briefly. "Closing Hours" opens with a beat as melancholic vocals join in. "Gone Today" is dark and sad with reserved vocals. It picks up some a minute in. "Tonight I" is minimalistic with fragile vocals and a beat. It gets fuller and there's an electronic vibe too. Atmosphere ends it.

"Signals In The Sky" opens with atmosphere.Vocals 2 minutes in. It picks up with drums 3 1/2 minutes in. It stops 5 1/2 minutes in. Sounds hover and pulse after 7 1/2 minutes to end it. "Descending" opens with atmosphere then reserved vocals come in around a minute. "White Paint" has these almost spoken vocals with guitar. Depressing. "Lashes" has a fuller sound but it's still slow moving and melancholic with reserved vocals as well.

A good debut but I wish there were some outbursts and most of all some uplifting passages mixed in with all the depression.

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The first "proper" album by Dutch outfit, Fourteen Twentysix, essentially a solo project by Chris Van Der Linden, with a little bit of help from his friends, this is an impressive work, and one that definitely grows on the listener with repeated turns.

Van Der Linden is a very talented musician and vocalist, and the mood of the work is amply set by the very strong opening track, AM. A lovely acoustic intro gives way to a deeply melancholic vocal set against pounding bass, drums, and interesting effects. Very atmospheric, it has that quality so often missing in many efforts, that of drawing the listener in more deeply and experiencing, rather than merely hearing, and you don't actually realise that you are listening to two separate tracks when After The Storm begins, as it is a continuation creating, in effect, one long piece of music of over seven minutes duration..

The dark bass and vocals continue on Closing Hours, backed by more key effects and a nice rhythm guitar, but the centrepiece, for me, is the fantastic drum work, all of which on the album were recorded live. A nice track which puts me in mind of not just Steven Wilson (whose influence is everywhere), but also U2 in their more melodic and moody moments.

Gone Today is still dark, but in a more commercial fashion. A lot of music is packed into less than four minutes here.

My personal favourite is Tonight I, which shows incredible maturity, and is, I very much hope, a foretaste of a long and successful career. Lyrically, I take this as a doomed love affair, or the breakdown of a close relationship, and the guilt and regret that such breakdowns inevitably bring. Once again, the drums are used as almost a lead instrument, with some emotional guitars and keyboard effects backing up to create a lush, moody soundscape. I guarantee you will fall in love with the instrumental section which breaks in at four and a half minutes into the track. It's a very clever track which reminds me very strongly of Crimson or Van Der Graaf at their most inventive, but without the left field cacophony accompanying.

Signals In The Sky is the second longest track on the album, weighing in at a little over eight minutes, and is again a deeply mature and moving piece of music, and one that takes you through the emotional handwringer somewhat. This, perhaps more than any other track, showcases a unique talent in making dark music strangely and refreshingly uplifting.

Descending continues the feel of what preceded, but is, I think, certainly vocally, less interesting, certainly at the outset. A little too sparse to be wholly effective, it is a track which, certainly on the first few listens, has one losing concentration and attention prior to the denouement, which repeats the trick of preceding tracks in dragging you back and creating a lush sound.

White Paint is a deeply beautiful and, I feel, personal song. Anyone who has suffered a deep relationship or love falling apart will agree that not even White Paint can cover up the hurt, the darkness, and when he sings about the look in the song target's eyes, you can see them as deeply hypnotic and special to the writer. It is another quite sparse track, but this pulls off the difficult trick of keeping you engaged, and that is all down to some great vocals and guitar work.

The album closes with the longest piece, Lashes, which is over nine minutes long. It basically pulls together everything on the album, the moods, textures, effects, pulsating rhythm section, and mournful stories, into a very effective epic, and as the last bars fade away, you feel quite exhausted, but also very mindful of the fact that you have experienced a very deeply personal and emotional piece of music.

This is not an album to review after a mere couple of listens. It is not an album that you will particularly enjoy first time around. It is, though, an album which rewards a great deal of patience, and which grabs you as the product of a very talented writer and performer who is capable of taking you to a place from which it is difficult to extract yourself. You literally end up living the album, and that is no small praise for an artist most will not have really heard of. I predict that the next full album will blow us all away on the basis of this very impressive debut.

Four stars for this. An excellent addition to any prog collection, and I would state my appreciation to Chris for sending me the CD as a prizewinner on the monthly review competition on the site. Don't worry - that photograph will be sent to you very soon!

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars Wow! What a surprise! I thought this was going to be a collection of demo songs but it's an album of full blown, very high quality crossover prog music. If you like the mellower, more spacious side of music, like THE CURE, THE CHURCH, NOSOUND, GAZPACHO, ANATHEMA, LOVE AND ROCKETS, AIRBAG, DAVID SYLVIAN, or BRIAN ENO, you will love this album!

1. 'Am' (5/10) is a brief acoustic guitar song that seems a bit out-of-place with the rest of the album'which means the lyrical content (a late-arriving vocal in the vein of LOVE AND ROCKETS) must be its most important contribution.

2. 'After the Storm' (8/10) brings the album's introduction from the austere, minimalist folk blues-rock into a kind of 80s techno pop: THE CHURCH, GENE LOVES JEZEBEL, SIMPLE MINDS, LOVE AND ROCKETS, even THOMPSON TWINS come to mind. It's good: not too retro, with plenty of modern sensibilities (guitars and other background effects). I love the quiet high-register vocal-over-'harp' interlude at the 2:45 mark, and the fuzz guitar that follows. Poor ending (familiar from ENO's 'By the River' from Before and After Science).

3. 'Closing Hours' (9/10) is an awesome song combining electronics, acoustic guitar picking, rolling COCTEAU TWINS-like bass line, and syncopated drumming with ROBERT SMITH vocals sounding as if straight off of the missing album between THE CURE's Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me and Disintegration LPs.

4. 'Gone Today' (7/10) hails back to LOVE AND ROCKETS and THE CHURCH though still pulling a lot from GENE LOVES JEZEBEL. Haunting keys and background-floating 'infinite guitar' tremolos coupled with a truly masterful vocal performance make this a real crossover gem.

5. 'Tonight I' (9/10) is a masterpiece of psychedelic prog techno-pop'not unlike the GAZPACHO and NOSOUND efforts but more akin to a great AIRBAG song'with a very infectious chorus melody. Great synth and special sound effects.

6. 'Signals in the Sky' (10/10) is simply amazing for the emotion of its spacey ambience. As good as NOSOUND or GAZPACHO at their very best! No, better!

7. 'Descending' (7/10) is a bit of a let down after the past four songs. It starts with 2 ' minutes of very vocal-heavy singing over some very somber, minor- or chromatic-keyed (or, at least, 'melody-less') synthesizer sounds. When it does 'kick' in, it continues to carry forward its almost too heavy, too dark sound'which might be quite appropriate for the lyrical message Chris is trying to convey (but, to which I am all but oblivious). Another attempt at the depths of dark-night-of-the-soul master ROBERT SMITH? It actually has more in common with STEVE KILBEY of THE CHURCH's sound and PETER HAMMILL' style. Fortunately, it does build and end much more like 'music' than it begins.

8. 'White Paint' (7/10) is a true STEVE KILBEY/THE CHURCH song'with lots of spacing between instrument notes. Also similar in feel and style to DAVID SYLVIAN's work.

9. 'Lashes' (10/10) is stunning! It's like a song whose music came from the BRIAN ENO/ROBERT FRIPP Evening Star period while Chris has had the courage and wherewithal to add an absolutely amazing DAVID SYLVIAN-like, prime ROBERT SMITH vocal over the top. Absolutely stunning effect'and effects (listen with headphones, please!!) The crescendo of cacophony toward the end followed by the lulling sound of a solo cello at the very end is the epitome of the end of a great Post Rock end of the world song'like ULVER's Shadow of the Sun's finale. Superlatives!

Each listen brings more enjoyment as this album's haunting vocals, simple, lazy but beautiful melodies and hidden subtleties draw you deeper into the music. This album is highly recommended for any music listener who likes a softer, more dreamy and yet very engaging listening experience. 4 stars for now--a HIGH 4 stars. ('Masterpiece' status usually needs be earned over time ''stamina,' the ability to hold interest over the long-term, are key. This album may have it!) 'Signals in the Sky,' 'Tonight I,' and especially the monster, 'Lashes,' are all masterpieces of space/spychedelic/post rock.

Post edit: Comparisons to Radiohead and/or Depeche Mode? Frankly, I don't see the. Not as electronic as DMode and not as odd or experimental--or dull--as Radiohead. These guys are the real deal, the new Cure--maybe better.

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A Depressing, Yet Highly Enjoyable Journey

After releasing their debut EP last year, Dutch one-man act Fourteen Twentysix returned with their first full-length album, Lighttown Closure, earlier this year. A melancholic, atmospheric, and often beautiful work of art is the best way to describe Chris van der Linden's latest release. Although the depressive nature of this work requires the listener to be in a certain "mood" to enjoy it, this is a high-quality and moody album that any fan of atmospheric progressive rock should check out. I found my mind wandering during the first few listens, but after a good 5 or 6 spins, my short attention span was overcome by some really high-quality, immersive music. Though this isn't the type of album that I would put on often, it's a professional and enjoyable release that fans of early Porcupine Tree, post rock, and electronic music should check out.

The music here is pretty unique. I can't actually say I've ever heard anything like it before. It's very influenced by Steven Wilson projects, but there's also a lot of post rock and atmospheric electronic influences as well. Of the 9 songs, my favorite is probably After the Storm, which is beautiful and creepy at the same time. There are some more upbeat songs like Closing Hours, which gives the album some variation. Most of the arrangements are very similar, so the album can seem a bit monotonous at first. Luckily, after a few listens, it's very easy to distinguish the songs from each other.

Chris van der Linden is a very talented musician, and he shows this throughout Lighttown Closure. His voice is especially unique, but he's also great at creating an atmospheric mood with the keyboards, guitars, and hypnotic drum programming. The production helps enhance this even more with its atmospheric and airy style.

Conclusion:

Lighttown Closure is a solid album from a very talented musician. If you think this sounds like something you may like, I highly recommend going to Fourteen Twentysix's website, where you can find the album generously offered for free download. For me, this is a high quality and enjoyable album, but not something I'll put on too frequently. 3 stars are deserved for this really good album.

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars The more I listen to it, the more I like it!

Fourteen Twentysix is the project of Chris van der Linden, a talented Dutch composer and multi-instrumentalist whose music has grown on me recently. His first EP, entitled "Songs to Forget" and released in 2009 was just a taste of his capacity of creating quality music; now in this 2010, he released his first full-length album that fortunately has received good critics, and it has to, because it is a pretty good album.

"Lighttown Closure" features nine compositions and a total time of 53 minutes. It kicks off with the shortest track entitled "AM". There is an acoustic guitar alone for the first minute, then a peacefully atmosphere is created until one minute and a half, where the song stops for some seconds. Later, vocals enter with guitar, creating a kind of sad feeling. When it finishes, the second song starts and seems to be the continuation of the opener, however, "After the Storm" shows more that electronic sound that predominates in this project's sound. This is a pretty cool song that I really enjoy, I love his atmospheres, his mixture of melancholy, darkness and light. In "Closing Hours" I really like that dark atmosphere created by the bass and complemented by Chris' vocals. During the songs one can perceive different sections and create several images in the mind, despite its dark feeling it shares different colours and stories. I like the end where he puts acoustic guitar as foreground and drums as background.

"Gone Today" is another shorter track, but an addictive one. The music starts slow but gradually progresses and becomes more interesting. The vocal game is quite good because it provokes diverse things on the listener, despite you know it's the same voice, listening to both at the same time can create different things, so it was good decision to do it.

Now the longer tracks start here, with this seven-minute song named "Tonight I" which again has that dark atmosphere which in moments leads you to a different world, where you can close your eyes and see things, maybe memories. The music is quite good, that combination of electronic elements with the acoustic guitar gives a special flavor to the song. This is one of my favorite tracks on this album.

"Signals in the Sky" is a beautiful, yet sad composition that if you are not in a good moment, then you'll be deeply touched by it. The first three minutes are quite melancholic, with some guitar notes and Chris' voice sharing emotions. Then, the song changes a little bit and the electronic elements appear. Different nuances and textures can be appreciated in these eight minutes of a fascinating inner reflection.

The song has finished, however that melancholic sound prevails with "Descending". In moments I think this is an album full of sorrow, for people who want to be alone and share a moment with themselves , relax and make a time of reflection. I don't really know the intention Chris had with his lyrics and with that dark, atmospheric and melancholic sound, but he has succeeded with me, without any doubt.

"White Paint" follows the same path, I am not saying that the album has become repetitive but the essence is practically the same almost in its entirety. I really love his voice and those soft and disarming guitars. The album finishes with the longest track entitled "Lashes", which is a fantastic composition that gathers all the elements presented earlier in the other songs, I mean, the different atmospheres and emotions, the game of voices, the mixture of electronic with acoustic sounds, all together in order to create an original product whose goal is to remain in the listeners mind.

In the case of Lighttown Closure, and Fourteen Twentysix, the goal was reached, since I listened to his music for the first time I felt interested, then I was caught and now I cannot escape. Though it is not what I would call a masterpiece, the way it produces things on me is worth of at least four stars. I recommend you listen to this great music.

Enjoy it!

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 Lighttown Closure by FOURTEEN TWENTYSIX album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.47 | 12 ratings

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Lighttown Closure
Fourteen Twentysix Crossover Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Lighttown Closure' - Fourteen Twentysix (7/10)

Hailing from the city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, musician Chris Van Der Linden and his melancholic art rock project Fourteen Twentysix find their debut studio work in the cryptically titled 'Lighttown Closure.' Having released a strong and promising demo, titled 'Songs To Forget,' I was very interested in hearing what Chris' music would sound like as a more complete and polished work. As it turns out, Fourteen Twentysix's first foray into a full length is a beautiful and potent piece of work, taking the style heard on the demo, and polishing it to a finish. Although the overall feel of the album can get a bit too lulling and might pass some listeners as being a tad too melancholic for their tastes, Chris Van Der Linden has made a good impression, and gone to lengths of emotional depth and introspection few progressive acts would dare to venture.

In terms of sound, Fourteen Twentysix takes aspects of melodic post rock, and blends it in with an artistic alternative rock style, with a few electronic samplings thrown in for effect. A greatly atmospheric piece of work, the music revolves around Chris Van Der Linden's brooding style and the melancholic gravity of the subject matter. While my view of 'Lighttown' is quite positive now, I will admit that the first few listens were rather slow to grasp. Unless the listener is intent and makes a point of paying attention to the music from the beginning, it is easy to initially float into the background. After repeated listens however, the beauty of the music really begins to show; the album is a perfect example of a good 'grower.' While there isn't a great deal of complexity in any of the compositions here, there are plenty of subtleties and nuances that the average listener won't pick up on until several listens to the music.

None of the musicianship here is indulgent or technical; the instrumentation and arrangement of sound works well to create atmosphere however. The music generally focuses on the soothing voice of Chris himself. Much like Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree fame, Chris is certainly not the most technically accomplished vocalist on the block, but he makes up for it in terms of the amount of emotion he is able to carry with his voice, as well as his skillful work with harmonies. The concept of 'emotion' is prevalent here, and after learning a bit more about what 'Lighttown Closure's concept revolves around, the lyrics and music become all the more significant. With 'Lighttown,' Chris sings about his life; at times even going to such genuinely heartbreaking life events as losing a girlfriend to a car accident at the age of 17 (as is heard in the heartwrenching track 'Gone Today). Most of the lyrics favour an introspective approach over a narrative aspect however, and can be lent to alot of personal interpretation.

While the album flows quite evenly, a potential flaw of the album is the fact that alot of the music sounds alike throughout; there is not a great deal of dynamic change, or introduction of new sounds and concepts throughout the piece. With that being said however, each track is relatively strong in it's own right, although the mood stays the same throughout most of them. One of the greatest highlights to the album is the beautiful job of production that Chris has blanketed the work with; a very laudable accomplishment, considering that the act is still underground at the point of releasing this.

While 'Lighttown Closure' is certainly an emotive and moving piece of intelligent art rock, some listeners may find themselves strictly underwhelmed by the album's mellowness. The project's style is also incredibly melancholic and depressive, which means it might not suit someone on their more energetic and pleasant days. That being said however, I rarely hear albums with this sense of sincerity about them, and with a second album in the works at the time of writing this review, it seems the only way for Fourteen Twentysix to go, is up.

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Thanks to chris s for the artist addition.

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