Crossover Prog • United Kingdom

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Synaesthesia biography
SYNAESTHESIA is a band from United Kingdom. The music is written by a 20 years old multi-intrumentalist Adam WORNE who incorporates influences from acts such as from FROST, PORCUPINE TREE and MUSE. They have released with Mike Holmes of IQ their first self-titled CD on GEP in 2014. It's at the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology that Adam began experimenting with Progressive Rock. All instruments are played by Adam with the exception of guitars by Nikolas JON and Ollie HANNIFAN. The line up includes also Robin JOHNSON (drums) and Peter EPISCOPO (bass, backing vocals).

The band was the support of IQ at their 2013 Christmas Bash in De Boerderij, Holland. The music of the band combine the sounds of modern Progressive Rock with the Synth-driven styles of alternative rock with catchy riffs and plenty of experimentation.

:: biography provided by rdtprog ::

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3.94 | 209 ratings

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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Synaesthesia are a young, fresh-faced UK prog band who have had the good fortune to become protegees of IQ's Mike Holmes, who after they signed to IQ's Giant Electric Pea record label would not only take on the production duties on this debut album, but would also provide a guest spot at one point on guitar. Try and spot him if you can, though, because group guitarists Sam Higgins and Ollie Hannifan offer an elite two-lead attack which provides an exciting backdrop for Adam Warne's keyboard work. It's not a perfect album - in particular, I find Warne's vocals to be rather bland and generic, and wonder whether the band wouldn't be better served by going instrumental - but it's an extremely strong debut which makes me hope for great things in the future from this group.


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by Mind_Drive

5 stars This is my first review of an album here on the archives but I just felt the urge to explain why i think this one deserves 5 stars!

Sometimes a piece of music takes you by surprise and sometimes, even more surprisingly, it stays with you... The first few spins, I thought it was a nice listening experience. But after a few weeks pause, I listened to it again and it blew me away! I was stunned how much I enjoyed it, how familiar it sounded to me and even now, as I write this review, I have the feeling that itīs still growing on me.

This debut is unobtrusively fresh, full of awesome compositions and diverse soundscapes - and it conveys a very unique mood: uplifting, yet thoughtful and of decent epicness. Spacy atmospheres alternate with catchy symphonic melodies and the vocals somehow bring the term "new-generation-fairytale-flair" to my mind. Vocalist Adam Warne tells the story (although itīs not necessarily a concept album i like to call it this way) in such a profound and authentic way, it totally takes you on a journey: through the ups and downs of human life and emotion and still it manages to leave room for your own imagination and feelings - your own story.

The whole album is a totally unique listening experience - itīs consistent and throughout very enjoyable.

People in search for a fresh blend of soundscapes, subtle, yet powerful emotions, top-notch compositions and a memorable journey through the first chapter of 21st century fairytale epics should definitely check this one out!

This piece of art has conquered a space in my heart and has become part of my story - for: "this is it, this is where my life begins to change..." <3

4.7 / 5 brilliant new beginnings!


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars As soon as I saw that this band have released their debut on GEP I was excited to hear what they are about. The label may not have released many different artists over the years, but given that their roster has included bands such as Jadis, Threshold and Big Big Train, as well as of course the mighty IQ then my excitement is fully justified. Then I realized that it had been produced by none other than Mike Holmes himself, so I became even more intrigued. Add to that the fact that the opening song is some 22 minutes long and all the signs were definitely pointing in the right direction. The fact that this band has been put together by a young unknown keyboard player, Adam Warne, who also wrote all the songs and sang them only added to the interest.

I felt that there was no way that I could possibly be disappointed by this, and boy was I right. Slightly more Crossover than Neo, this is an album that is immediate and for me hearkens right back to the Nineties when the UK scene was just exploding with incredible bands and great albums. This has pretty much all one could wish for from a progressive rock album: it turns and twists, allowing everyone to take the spotlight when the time is right, and always driving forward. Although Adam is a keyboard player this is not an album that is overtly dominated by keys, but is incredibly well balanced and allows the twin guitars to shine and dominate when the time is right. But he also has a Steven Wilson approach to vocals, and there is clarity and emotion in all that he does in that arena, shining above the music with real passion and vitality.

There have been some standout debuts in the last six months or so (Mice on Stilts and Perfect Beings for example) and this is yet another. Their links with IQ have already seen them benefit in terms of gigs, but they have to stand on their own right and with this album they definitely do it. No doubt this is going to feature in many end of the year lists, it is that good. www.synaesthesiahq.com


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars 2014 off with a huge bang. "Extra, Extra, tweet all about it" yells the cyber-paperboy!

Confidence, balls, courage, chutzpah, called it what you will but kicking off a career with a 22 minute extravaganza is a risky business, so it better be darn good. Here we have, blasting out of the blocks, an epic song that touches on so many fronts, at times symphonic and then exploding into an endless vortex of new mood plateaus of sensorial delight, the kind of music you would put on to seduce some succulent young lady into falling into your proggy arms. The best word to describe the first impressions is a sense of beauty that has a huge amount of thought and amazing instrumentation by a one man band, with only some guitar help. The expression is of human reality and not some Tolkien-esque fantasy. "Time, Tension and Intervention" is a 21st century classic, monumental both in scope and in depth, yet seductive to the ear, wrapped in a series of sumptuous melodies, cascading wildly like some winter whirlwind. The guitar playing is world-class, shimmering and glimmering, evidently influenced by the likes of Rothery, Latimer, Barrret, Hackett and IQ's Mike Holmes (who also produces and guides here). Add Akkerman to the list as there is even quite blatantly, the first bars of Hocus Pocus, just to get us older foggies excited again. Two fretboarders are hired to supply the needed shriek, Ollie Hannifan and Nikolas Jon. The arsenal of keyboards create a rich, modern, even futuristic tapestry, hinting at old stylists like Gary Wright, Thomas Dolby, Manfred Mann and Rick Wakeman. The 4 string marvel coughs belligerently, bopping when required and bitch solid when needed. Drumming is quite muscular, pounding hard within echo-laden synthesized atmosphere. The whole rocks, soothes, careens and caresses, all perfectly synchronized and keeping the edge honed at all times. A colossal achievement worthy of the highest praise and frankly, the talk of Progtown, at least in Neo/Symphonic circles. "All I need is a friend and I found you". Indeed!

The one man band is Adam Warne, a 21 year-old wunderkind who must have grown up listening to Vulgar Unicorn albums, as there is a stylistic similitude that explains epic sizes, bombast and subtlety, power and caress. Or he has incredible prog instincts or someone gave him a proper and in depth education, covering the golden years , the abyss periods where electronic synth-pop ruled the waves and the recent magnificent progressive renaissance. His voice is a pleasant hush, not unlike Steve Wilson or Riverside's Mariusz Duda, as is very evident on the second tune, the brash, bellicose and blatantly flipped out "Sacrifice", which winks at classic Foghat, Trapeze and such. Yet Adam has more surprises up his vocal sleeve, doing successfully some intrepid modulations, occasionally serene, often powerful and evocative on so many levels, even detached ennui. Wimpy neo-prog this is not. In fact, it razor sharp and rapier devastating, ballsy and rocky in unending surprise or the musical version of shock and awe (less lethal than war), as the subject matter is mostly romantic slanted, evoking distant aromas of early Roxy Music...Speaking of which, while I happen to be on the subject?

"Moumenon" has a distant relationship to Bryan Ferry's Mamouna album, only in that it's musically exuberant and adventurous like Roxy Music was once. A simply crafted, rollicking piece of entirely proggy prog of the finest vintage, soaring Manzanera-like guitar solo to add the proverbial cherry.

"Epiphany" is the most poignant and delirious song I have heard in a decade (aka that's a lot of music ? Lots). Kicks off like rocket from hell, ka-boom and quickly, unexpectedly flutters into a sumptuous mood, very sexy, very Ferry one second and a howler the next. The same then happens with the music veering into Hawkwind-intense, blazing mellotron leading the charge, the mind reeling from the sheer enjoyment of hearing such quality music, this song is a perfect audio time capsule for the genius of prog, a universe that combines the roots with the heavens, blending in all the colors of the spectrum. Warne bellows "Please take me home" over and over again until the final climax. You have to hear this to believe it, a masterpiece slice of brilliance.

Let's get those neo-prog bashers into a tizzy, gazing down only at their foolishness, tied as they are to this Synaesthesia chair and endure the unthinkable pleasure! Couple of short gems add sparkle to the rain = "Good Riddance" is a snarly affair, replete with gusto and bravado (them two Italian twins), "live my life" he blurts, the voice suave and the theme electric. Booming bass, obsessive themes not unlike Anathema, especially in lieu of Warne's emotional delivery that does recall Vince Cavanagh, perhaps one of the finest current rock singers ever.

This modern trend becomes extremely obvious on "Technology Killed the Kids" (great name for a band, no?), wondering where the video star is hiding now, a quirky little thingie that is smart and well-played, old bean! There is a robust but playful sense to the proceedings that just 'buggles' the mind.

The whopper prog-pop song "Life's What You Make of It" ends the album, a clear declaration of their prog roots, giving priority to the ethereal and luminescent. This , folks, is a another killer , on a murderous album, not to be confused with almost similarly titled Talk Talk hit back in the 80s . Here you may get a Vienna Circle vibe or a proggier Blackfield if you like. Another reviewer mentioned Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys, which is again confirming the 80s sensibilities displayed here in abundance. Amazing performance with flourishing bass, swirling synths and propulsive drums giving the passionate vocal a solid platform to expand on life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

As I stated earlier, this is timeless music, the type I could only pray to make if I was a musician. Bah, being an audiophile is good enough! So many familiar tinges, 80s stuff like the Korgis, Simple Minds, New Muzik, Naked Eyes and similar ilk, all processed with intense, modern and classy proggisms.

Synaesthesia generously gave and I happily took. One of the finest debut albums in prog.

5 no-brainers


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This debut album really kill me at first spin!

Well ...yeeeeaaaahhh ...! Finally I got an album that really blew me away at first spin when I got it. Dunno what really happen with me actually as I have to be honest that in term of proggyness this one is not that prog actually and probably some of you might think this is like a straight music with no complexities. I don't blame you at all if you have that opinion. Me too .. I don't think I find some complicated segments from the composition written by a 20- year old young man under prog coaching by Mike Holmes of IQ. One thing for sure this album has become my regular play list the whole album in its entirety because I found something missing when I tried to spin only half-way through of the album. The thing is that the overall flow of the music is truly brilliant. I find the music is really me! It''s really my taste and nothing that I find weird at all from this album. Everything moves beautifully from start to end. I tend to give five stars actually because it's so marvelous in terms of composition especially the nice melody overall and each individual track melody. Things move wonderfully throughout the album and I am really hooked with it!

You might expect that this one is as powerful as Script for a Jester's Tear that also BLEW me away at first spin I got the album in 1983 and made me deeply seated comfortably numb for three hours playing the cassette that I had the first time because at that time CD was not available. As in Script you have the hard groove song laike He Knows You Know or the poserful Forgotten Sons, this one from Synaesthesia basically no song like that at all. It's not that rocky as Script but it is really killing me! And also this album is not something similar with IQ "Ever" with its hard pounding "Darkest Hour" as album opener, for example. However ...there are much similarity with IQ Ever especially there is track that has similar tempo like "Further Away" even though the changing tempo is not that drastic as Ever.

Time, Tension & Intervention is a wonderful album opener and really made me blew away at first listen as I do enjoy the energy as well as the inventive keyboard work throughout the song that is considered as epic as it consumes a 22 minute duration. What amazes me is the stream of music that flows wonderfully taking the lead vocal well supported by combined performance of instruments played. The bass-playing sounds dynamic throughout the epic while the drumming is also wonderful. I do not really understand what really make me enjoyed with the music as actually it sounds just simple. In fact the solo is not as you might expect similar with Rick wakeman or guitar playing like Steve Howe. It's just so wonderful. I keep playing it many time withouth a sense of getting bored with the music. I's really a great opener!

Sacrifice starts off with a simple drumming with nothing special in terms of the virtuosity - it's just a regular drumming and probably some of you might say something special at all - it's just a sound of drumming. But for me this short opening brings what next is a very good music stream that flows wonderfully. Yes, there are music riffs but they are not something like progressive metal at all. the guitar and keyboard work are also mixed thinly and nothing is dominating one to another. The audio production is really neat and flawless. In terms of proggyness, nothing that I can show it demonstratively to you ... It's basically a simple song with upbeat tempo and wonderful groove. And .. I love the vocal line and the melody he brings with the song. It's really a wonderful song! The bass guitar and drumming are also excellent!

Noumenon stars nicely with simple yen inventive keyboard - synthesizer work augmented with bass guitar. The music then flows nicely in relatively slower tempo than the second track. Now the guitar playing really remind me to IQ even though not as raw as IQ. But the key is actually how the keyboard plays its inventive tones along the way with great combination of guitar fills. Oh man .... this third track is also really great! Even though there are some segments that might remind you to IQ but I don't see any melody or bits of it coming out from IQ music at all. It's really a very nice short instrumental.

Epiphany starts off with a musical riff combining bass, guitar, keyboard and drums. The music then goes into a bit of complex segments before it finally lands into a relax mode music that reminds me to the kind of RPWL or Floydian waves. The vocal line is really excellent especially backed up by the waving keyboard work at back ground. There are great moments during vocal line especially when it is augmented by mellotron-like sound that later brings the music into an upbeat tempo with faster speed. WOW!!! What a great tempo changes around this area! And hey ...the band provides you with a short complex segment for a transition to another slow tempo part. Oh man ... wonderful!!!! And ...the guitar solo is stunning, my friend ...... And now you enjoy the Floydian guitar work at the last part of the song.

Good Riddance sounds like a straight rocker but it's backed with a melotron-like sound that suddenly has a break with only drumming work and followed with distanced singing style. Oh what a nice opening part this song has! the music then flows like a Floydian music with hard pounding drumming work. I like the drum sounds really. I usually play this part with high volume at amplifier because it's very satisfying ....!!! I like the ending part of this short track especially with guitar solo and singing style and tight basslines.

Technology Killed The Kids starts with something that sounds like a computer game followed with fast tempo drum beats combined beautifully with keyboard and guitar in relatively fast and upbeat tempo with many breaks and some complexities. The song then takes guitar as lead melody with some breaks indicating the computer games. This short instrumental is really GREAT!

Life's What You Make Of It concludes the album nicely with an ambient opening and vocal line that flows beautifully...there is nothing to rearrange ....as the vocal says at the opening part. the music then flows in crescendo with keyboard work followed with a bluesy guitar work. This might be considered the most poppy compared to previous tracks. Yes it has high points as well but the key thing is that this song sounds like summarizing what the band has presented with its previous six wonderful tracks plus this excellent concluding track.


It's a beautifully-crafted debut album that produces great composition of music in the vein of neo prog combined with modern alternative music but not so much derailed from the prog category as the essential element of the melody has proved successful in making the album cohesive as a whole. Fans of Pallas, Pendragon, Arena, IQ ora Triangle (Dutch) will enjoy very much this album. Yes, I remember Triangle "Square The Circle" has similarity in terms of sub-genre with this debut album. Overall, I would give 4.5 stars for this one even though I tend to give a five star rating, actually. Let time goes by and I might change to five stars later. Keep on proggin' ...!

This album might be the best example of neo-prog music today!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Blending the Colours of Time

To be honest, I'm actually thoroughly impressed that Prog Magazine found these guys.

I feel, in this day and age, that print media and magazines are becoming less and less relevant to finding new music, yet somehow the team at Prog seem to find these bands that no one else does. I know there are a fair few haters of the magazine amongst my friends and followers, but I feel that Prog serves its purpose within the realm of music by serving those who do things the old-fashioned way. You know, with demo CDs and sending stuff to labels and magazines, rather than posting things on bandcamp and praying for someone to find you. I am regularly impressed by the number of artists that slip under my radar completely, only to find them enclosed in the pages of Prog magazine. As much as I feel that print is a dying media (although I prefer it), somehow Prog are keeping relevant, because they appear to have some sources that we don't have.

Which brings me to this band and album, their "pick for 2014". I'll be honest, I didn't actually find these guys through Prog, but I know very many people did. It was an upset of sorts, because everyone would have expected iamthemorning or someone similar to walk away with the award, but at the same time I guess everyone was glad that it was a band they didn't know. I actually found these guys in presumably the same way that Prog found out about them, from their record label, Giant Electric Pea Ltd., who are famous for being IQ's record label since Peter Nicholls rejoined in the early '90s, and only serving a very select few other bands, namely Threshold, Spock's Beard and Big Big Train. One would assume this meant some connection to IQ from personnel or management, but I actually think that this was a simple case of members of IQ enjoying their music, and given that Synaesthesia's debut show was opening for the neo- prog greats, it has most certainly helped them.

Although I do also consider this album to be a neo-prog record, and the first 'pure' neo record I have enjoyed for the last few years, unlike many neo bands, Synaesthesia don't consistently feel the need to steal from IQ or 80's Marillion to complete their sound. Although the wall-of- synth throughout this album is incredibly neo-prog, the band also introduces a lot of modern influence into their guitar work and melodies, even citing Muse as an influence twice on their facebook page. They could be compared to other contemporary neo bands like Frost*, but the vast distances between Dec Burke and Synaesthesia vocalist Adam Warne, as well as the absence of heavy elements, mean that these two bands still sounds greatly different despite existing on the same plane.

The album is flustered with the characteristic neo-prog analogue synth, but regularly, the synth pushes into the modern, arpeggiated keyboard style that Muse have become famous for. This, combined with occasionally harder edged guitars, and the fact that Warne would sound far more comfortable in front of an indie pop band, means that Synaesthesia has a nice modern touch, pulling it away from the crowd of throwback bands that only take from pre-1987 influence. One of my favourite moments on this album is the chorus of the gargantuan opening track, "Time, Tension & Intervention", which features a wonderful transition from the lush verses into a rather hard-hitting, riff-driven chorus, that could have come from a modern stadium rock album, if Warne had a more powerful voice. There are other nice touches, like "Sacrifice", although I consider it to be the weakest track here, has a great groove in the opening riff, reminding my a lot of "Celebrity Touch" by Riverside (which in turn reminded me of some groovier alt-rock bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers or Incubus).

But in the end, I really think the only thing stopping this from being a favourite album for me is the vocalist, and many other critics have had the same problem, although not for the same reasons. My problems with him don't lie in the lyrics or his ability to come up with good vocal lines; it's simply the timbre of his voice that I just can't enjoy. Neo-prog is a genre dominated by powerful voices, and although I admire Synaesthesia for taking the risk of having a vocalist who doesn't sound like Fish or Peter Nicholls (or both at the same time, like some neo bands), I really feel this music just doesn't work without someone with a phenomenal range and an even more phenomenal lung capacity. I can actually imagine these vocal lines being someone with a big voice, and the music would be raised so much higher. One person I can't help but hearing (who has a voice I equally despise) is youtube celebrity and Chameleon Circuit frontman Alex Day, especially in the annunciation and also slightly in the lyrical style.

But honestly, I feel that's my only complaint about this. Some of the wall-of-synth moments get pretty cheesy, but for someone who has loved neo-prog for a long time, this is hardly a big problem or obstacle, and aside from the opener, none of the songs stick out as 'great' (they're all 'pretty decent' or 'nice'), but the instrumentals here are excellently written and performed, from the atmospheric and lush backings to the vocal led sections to the dynamic and fun instrumental jams that don't lose themselves in messy lines or instrumental wankery. We have two big instrumental sections here, the fully instrumental track "Technology Killed the Kids", running a great 5/4 groove for the majority of the track, and the thoroughly impressive jam during the 22 minute opener, running from about the 2 minute mark through to well into the eighth. Both of these sections never lose their energy, the riffs running through them are well- written, and they never really tend to get boring, like many instrumental jams.

Synaesthesia may not be a classic record or a masterpiece, but it's definitely a solid debut that will put them on the modern prog map. Perfectly blending elements of the classic era with more modern influences, this is a great starting point for a band that definitely have potential to make something great. I know that the vocals are an obstacle for me, dropping the rating significantly (because vocals are a big part of my music enjoyment), but instrumentally this album is great stuff, and is one of the better debut albums I've heard recently.


Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by ScorchedFirth

3 stars (7/10)

Picked by 'Classic Rock Presents Prog' magazine as the #1 "Tip For 2014", at the start of the year Synaesthesia now release their self-titled debut. Given a big chance by being put on IQ's GEP label, and then given a shot opening at IQ's legendary christmas bash in De Boerderij (Holland), clearly Mike Holmes has some faith in them, and with good reason.

This band is young, and by that I mean the singer/keyboardist/frontman (Adam Warne) is only 20.


Seriously, I'm impressed. I think we can be pretty sure that Synaesthesia have a lot of potential left to grow into. In fact, you can see how much the band has already grown on their YouTube channel; from their first rehearsal, all the way up the their gig in Holland. It catches them just being people between the songs too, messing around with effect, quoting silly internet memes, listening to "Ever", and I'm sure I saw a Cardiacs shirt at some point (hooray!).

Well with all that hype out the way, why don't I actually tell you what it sounds like? I must admit, I was personally very surprised to see Synaesthesia placed into the crossover sub-genre. Their sound is tied very strongly to Neo-Prog, led by the keys, and should indeed appeal to fans of bands like IQ. The GEP site claims them to have incorporated alt rock into their sound, but personally I don't hear much of it. There are, however, a lot of modern sounds bouncing around along with the classic. A good range in general, especially from the ubiquitous keyboard. It's an album with a huge influence from the 70s and 80s, but there's no way you could mistake it as coming from that era (the modern flourishes and production values ensure this, for one). Maybe Comedy Of Errors or Arena, possibly even Frost*, are good bands to compare Synaesthesia to.

The instrumental skills of the band are very solid, the melodic interplay of keyboard/guitar in particular is just the sort I like in my prog - fiddly synth solo passages and soaring clean guitar solos abound. Vocals, whilst competent and relatively pleasant, maybe a tad unexciting for some compared with the grand Neo-Progressive music. But that can be worked on easily, they just need a bit more range and intensity. Or maybe they could just be framed better, with more varied vocal lines, or some more interesting counterpoints and harmonies or something. Lyrically there's nothing horribly cheesy, but nothing is especially leaping out at me either. Perhaps some further digging is required.

To return to my earlier praise though, I'm really impressed with the keyboards. The atmosphere and the energetic leads both sound very mature and well-studied from the masters. There's a not insignificant amount of the great Martin Orford present, I reckon. In general this ambitious band seems to have done their homework.

In fact, Synaesthesia set their ambitions out on display immediately with the 22 minute six part suite, "Time, Tension & Intervention". I feel kinda predictable saying it, but it is the best track on the album. It's filled with a lot of moods and atmospheres along with some pretty fun instrumental sections. The guitar especially shines when it takes the lead. Perhaps the finale could have been a bit more substantial but overall an excellent start to the album.

The were some other tracks I particularly liked though. The album closer "Life's What You Make Of It", with its nice melodies, and positive vibe to sign off the album with caught my attention easily. On "Epihphany" we see a little bit of the heavier side of the band, along with a genuinely funky interjection (I'd definitely be all for them experimenting with genre a bit more next album). The short instrumental "Noumenon" is also a fun little piece that brings together themes from the album. The other songs are good, but the one's I've mentioned are definitely the strongest.

I can't quite bring myself the rate this as 'excellent' (there is definitely room for this band to grow, and I would presume that they will), but I'm sure that many others are going to, and I fully expect that this album should garner a large amount of attention over this year. If you're looking for a young band with much promise to start off 2014 with, give Synaesthesia a chance.


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 Synaesthesia by SYNAESTHESIA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 209 ratings

Synaesthesia Crossover Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I always look forward to the beginning of a new year. This is when many of the debut albums from young bands are released, as they like to avoid the last half of the year when many of the big hitters release new stuff. So, for the first new band I've heard in 2014, Synaesthesia is a great find. Young, energetic, and influenced through several channels, Synaesthesia have put together a fine debut album that I think will earn them some attention.

The band definitely has a sound of their own creation. They take influence from alternative rock. some indie rock , and progressive music. Indeed, I almost hear influence from Incubus, Frost*, Muse, and a few others. Their sound, then, is instantly recognizable, yet as you try to separate the sounds, you will realize that they don't really sound like any other band particularly. I feel that is a genuine accomplishment, and kudos to the band for being so on point here.

So, with all these influences, Synaesthesia's self-titled debut is a fairly eclectic mix of electronic elements, sweeping and also deliberate synth, proggy guitars, light drumming, and a foundation of bass. The musicians here are certainly capable, though the music never gets overly technical. It's more about mood and ambiance, I think. This is especially so with the keys, and there seems always to be a background layer of keys or electronic sounds just to provide, well, a background. Actually, one of the more impressive things on the album is the dual nature of the instrument styles. For instance, the guitars easily switch from proggy detail to alternative distortion. The keys, also, switch from atmospheric to music-leading passages. No one instrument seems to be at the forefront, and so it provides a great modern sound. Synaesthesia so desires to bring a modern sound to progressive music, and I do feel that they have succeeded to a great extent.

This release isn't without flaws, though. At first, I had trouble with the vocalist, Adam Warne. His voice isn't particularly spellbinding, but it does improve with more listens. It definitely lies more in the alternative range. However, I realized that the writing is my main problem with this album. The lyrics are somewhat cheesy and forced sometimes, almost like the band just needed to fill a certain amount of space with a single word. It definitely does not leave an organic feeling on the vocal melodies, but I do believe it's passable. Now, the lyrical content is quite good, as it seems to look at some ways our modern lives are destroying us. This is something with which I can relate. However, I do feel they could have communicated this message more effectively.

All in all, Synaesthesia has released a great album that should please many people. Keyboard-driven music isn't all that common nowadays, and it's great to see a band utilize this approach, but still keep a balance. More than that, the band achieves balance while also writing some rather catchy songs that pay homage to many different music types. "Time, Tension, & Intervention" with its 22+ minute run time is a great representation of the whole album, and is probably my favorite song on the album with its shifting of styles and its tighter writing. Another stand out track is "Life's What You Make of It" with its great chorus and electronic sound.

So, if you like a great mixture of styles and exemplary keys, Synaesthesia may be your new favorite. Everything about this album screams success to me, and not just in the prog sphere, either. With a little bit of everything, Synaesthesia will definitely be talked about quite a bit over the coming months.


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Thanks to kev rowland for the artist addition.

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