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Singularity - Of All The Mysteries CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.10 | 35 ratings

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5 stars Pffff! "Of All The Mysteries". If ever there was any doubt, it has been shattered for evermore! Extra, extra, read all about it: "Santa Claus is a prog-rocker! Mrs Claus is very lonely!" How can such a bold statement be true? Well, a week before Christmas, Montreal's favorite and only Prog Store receives numerous copies of the splendid new Phideaux album, the third chapter of the brilliant Satellite and the eagerly awaited Singularity. There it is, irrepressible proof that the Old Nick is an outright proghead and that the real names of his reindeers are Hillage, Hackett, Holdsworth and Howe! Think about it, Clive Nolan already looks the part of Santa, and both Blackmore and both Andersons (Ian & Jon) have published Xmas albums that have a proggy slant, so it may just be a conspiracy. All this cheery intro to elevate the sheer exaltation at the opportunity to finally get a new chapter from this singular (excuse the pun) US band that surprised all pundits worldwide (including a few PA illuminati) with the phenomenal "Between Sunlight and Shadow". While the Timothy Pure similarities continue to lie specifically with John Green's parallel key and vocal work (Matthew Still is the Pure key-singer), it must be said that the overt Rush touches have somewhat disappeared probably due to guitar-bassist Matt Zafiratos replacement by Scott Cleland (on the 6 strings) and Jonathan Patch (on the 4 strings), as well as a way more "recherché" groove that permeates the "Of All the Mysteries" tracks. Before venturing on a track-by-track analysis, let it be stated for the record (another damn pun!) that this is an EXCEPTIONAL recording that deserves ionospheric praise from any fan lucky enough to feast their ears on it and acts therefore as an ideal companion to their preceding 2002 masterpiece. That it took 5 years to perfect becomes self evident right from the start, the long hiatus having given the band members a new found determination to really develop the heavenly harmonies that are liberally sprinkled throughout. "Mongrel" kicks off the festivities with a short instrumental that showcases their new sound and the patience that went into its maturation. The 15 minute epic "Smile" has all those very precious and very specific elements that make progressive rock such a discovery/voyage/trip/journey for those of us who keenly enjoy musical adventure. Soft intro, beautiful voices, a trill of the flute and then, suddenly out of the blue, a nosedive into heavier rhythms, thumping bass, swirly synthesizers, polyrhythmic percussives & thoughtful lyrics propelled by slightly distorted vocals. A slight shift and here come the acoustic guitars, the somber cello and the moog flights. This is a masterful cut, with massive melodies, a very relaxed delivery and superb playing by all; the lavish bass led outro is particularly invigorating with a lovely wah-wah guitar excursion. This is Progheaven ! "XOT" is up next, a seven minute all-instrumental exercise with heavy fanfare synths, more stunning bass ramblings, ripping six-string forays, your typical "let us show you our chops" without getting too technical. The brief "Patchquilt" confirms that 1-John Green is one of the finest prog voices (the guy can actually sing!) and 2- Scott Cleland has a dexterous command of the electric guitar (bluesy, proggy, jazzy). "Kaleidoscope" is another short breezy piano dominated piece that evolves into an immense guitar-led chorus that has a strong IQ "Dark Matter" feel. The jewel of the crown is the 20 minute "Islands" that lead off with stunning counterpoint vocal harmonies meshing with a string section that will leave you speechless. When the gentle piano motif takes over, you know that we have entered killer prog territory. When the subtle acoustic guitar adds to the heightening emotion, you know that this is Singularity's finest moment. Perhaps even one of the all time great epic tracks, it just grooves effortlessly along, with bold, ambitious, confident and stimulating musical statements both individually and collectively (a prog version of Stealy Dan, and that is very high praise indeed). Every tonal detail and each hushed whisper has its meaning and space, as if divine intervention placed it in sequence. Without a shred of doubt, recent US Prog's finest achievement, a simply timeless monument that will please all the "Beautiful Mind" audiophiles, singularly. Thank you Santa, prog on! 5 enigmas
tszirmay | 5/5 |


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