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Eyesberg - Blue CD (album) cover

BLUE

Eyesberg

 

Neo-Prog

3.82 | 48 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars EYESBERG is a British-German outfit consisting of Malcolm Shuttleworth on vocals, Norbert Podien (keyboards) and Georg Alfter on guitar and bass that I accidently discovered on progstreaming that captured my attention from the very first few seconds, a serious bunch of older gentlemen who seemingly are seasoned pros in the art of divine prog , sprinkled with clever melodies, sparkling soloing and a truly inspiring lead vocalist, all conspiring to dilute the interval between accessible and creative. They enjoy muscular deliveries, remindful at times of Spooky Tooth, Saga, Supertramp, as well as obvious Genesis and early Marillion, applied with deliberate talent and zealous confidence. Each piece has a gargantuan melody, garlanded by smoking keyboards, furious beat and manly guitar, I mean the instrumental foundation is absolutely first rate, I even caught myself wondering 'who are these older dudes'? Recently, via a poll on PA to find vocalists who could sing like Phil Collins (beyond his son Simon), there were only a few candidates like Nad Sylvan (Unifaun, Hackett) as well as Glenn MacLaughlin of Iluvatar but my vote goes to Malcolm Shuttleworth , who can ,and often is, a dead ringer for the ex-Genesis frontman.

Effervescent synthesizer salvos greet the unsuspecting listener, as a power riff cruncher then takes over with solid rhythmic pressure courtesy of veteran drummer Ulf Jacobs (Argos). "Child's Play" introduces a typical neo-prog atmosphere, a stories universe of sound and verse that exudes both warmth and intelligence. This is a fine opener, a harbinger of what is to come, a series of bright, crisp and attractive compositions firmly encamped in the neo camp.

The spectacular "Epitaph" has Malcolm shadowing Uncle Phil Collins rather brilliantly without any overt drool, just a hefty load of melodrama to spur the moment along. Norbert Podien has his ivories harrumphing like a slew of elephants in a peanut gallery, blitzkrieg guitar flurries help to elevate the pleasure but the rich melodies are the main attraction.

Right behind is another winner, the divine "Closed Until the Resurrection" (now that is wordplay if I ever read one) which motors right from the start with guzzling guitar and slippery synth whooshes, the Collins reference is immediate and strangely comforting, as if re-mindful of what Genesis could have been , had it decided to remain firmly a symph/neo-prog spearhead. A spooky keyboard mid-section does wonders for the soul as Shuttleworth gets into his storytelling mode , here closer to Fish than anyone else. The guitar is both brash and splashy, equally entrancing in rhythm or lead mode, highlighting an already delicious track.

The delicate flute ponders its place in the mixture, veering initially into Ant Phillips circa The Ghost and the Geese territory, as "Winter Gone" could have easily been a prog radio hit as the tune just blooms into a lovely balled dripping with Trick of the Tail era magic. Everything impresses immediately and is extremely enjoyable.

This same aura is repeated on the following "Inquisitive", another lively affair that remains brief but playful. Prog-pop is admittedly not everyone's cup of tea but on occasion, you need some simple snack food to calm the urges and satisfy the hunger for easily digestible fare. This is just pure fun, nothing more, nothing less.

The obvious crowning achievement here is "Feed Yourself" an 8 minute prog slice that has a slow burning fuse intro that will sweep one off their feet, a howling mellotron hurricane that will blow you sideways. Malcolm really comes across as a cool lead vocalist, doing a fine mix of Phil Collins, Fish, Cy Curnin (The Fixx) and Michael Sadler. The guitar blasts furiously, always in a riotous exaltation, Jacobs slamming hard, while the synthesizers carve their stone. Richly dense, the groove is relentless and awe-inspiring! This should be heralded as a classic 2014 prog epic, a suave box of candied musical arrangements and dramatic vocals that cannot disappoint even the distant fan.

After a brief intro, five songs are featured in intervals of 5 and 3 minute pieces, showing their more accessible side. "Faces on my Way" is perhaps a bit weaker than all the previous glory but is still not filler by any stretch. Just a slight jazzier approach, with fluid guitar and keyboard interventions that inspire another solid vocal performance. The 3 minute "Porcelain" is fast and furious, catchy and fun as well as featuring some nimble back and forth soloing between synths and axes. The attention to details is obvious, a carefully clever manipulation of the senses, as the music balanced between familiar and unexpected. This is best exemplified in glowing colour on a track such as "If I told you the truth", a pop song with balls, commercial at first but the musical prowess soon shows itself to be seductively overwhelming. I could have done without the 'baby' pseudo-R&B inserts but that is nit-picking, the piece is a well-crafted, bombastic and toe-tapping ride. "SII" is almost like a modern version of "Smoke on the Water", staunch guitar riffing with juicy solos and escorted by slippery supersonic synths flying overhead, you will cream your jeans here, boys and girls! Smooooookin'! The intent is again to highlight a sense of enjoyment and not necessarily a stab at crowning the hopeless charts, as music like this will never appeal to the current market anyway, too many solos and sharp playing for such an apathetic crowd. The disc finishes off with a Spooky Tooth/Uriah Heep vibe on the next one, 'a real rockinrolla'! bullied by a vituperative organ and a choppy blues style. "Detachment and Replacement" is a fine finale.

This is an ear catching debut album with some great pieces, their next one should determine their place in prog . I for one suggest to expand the progressive tendencies even further and delve into even more complex arrangements as well as wilder tonal explorations and maybe even reconnoiter some more profound themes. A pleasant azure artwork seals the teal (oops I mean, deal), a fantastic discovery that needs a wider audience. Devout Genesis fans unite and search out "Blue"!

4 floating ocular cubes

tszirmay | 4/5 |

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