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Thieves' Kitchen - The Water Road CD (album) cover

THE WATER ROAD

Thieves' Kitchen

 

Eclectic Prog

3.63 | 89 ratings

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erik neuteboom
Prog Reviewer
4 stars

I had never heard of this UK formation when I got Thieves' Kitchen their new album entitled The Water Road, the fourth studio album since their debut-CD Head from 2000 and their latest effort Shibboleth from 2003. Well, listening to The Water Road the music often reminds me of Anglagard because of the frequent powerful Hammond organ runs and the abundant violin-Mellotron eruptions. When I read the booklet I discovered the reason: two guest musicians Thomas Jonson (keyboards) and Anna Holmgren once they joined ... the legendary and highly acclaimed progrock band Anglagard, what a pleasant surprise! Along those King Crimson inspired bands like Anglagard and Anekdoten, we can also enjoy mellow parts with classical overtones (flute, hobo, cello) and dynamic jazzrock featuring a guitar sound in the vein of Daryl Stuermer and an omnipresent Fender Rhodes electric piano.

This great musical variety is very present in the epic first composition The Long Fianchetto (over 20 minutes) delivering a wonderful piano intro, strong interplay between electric guitar and Fender piano, bombastic Hammond and Mellotron work, fiery guitar runs, dreamy parts with beautiful female vocals, flute and acoustic guitar and a compelling final part with lush keyboards, fiery guitar and a propulsive rhythm-section. The frequent shifting moods sound very flowing and I am delighted about the tasteful keyboard arrangements, often in strong interplay with the guitar. Next the instrumental Returglas, an exciting blend of folk, rock and prog that contains lots of interesting musical ideas, a big hand for Thieves' Kitchen! Then the dreamy Chameleon with a lush instrumentation (from saxophone and hobo to Hammond organ) and a beautiful grand finale featuring majestic violin-Mellotron and howling guitar. The track Om Tare (lyrics in Sanskrit) sounds like swinging 'symphonic jazzrock (evoking Colosseum II) with excellent keyboardplay and sensational guitarwork. The long, violin-Mellotron drenched composition Tacenda For You (close to 10 minuts) alternates between mellow (with flute and cello), compelling and catchy with again great keyboard variety and strong guitarwork (from Fripperian to a powerful jazzrock sound). Next the the song When The Moon Is In The River Of Heaven: first a moving atmosphere with sensitive guitar, violin-Mellotron, warm vocals and Fender piano, then mighty Mellotron waves and a dreamy climate that gradually turns into more lush and compelling featuring delicate Fender piano, flute and the unsurpassed Mellotron. Then the short, to me a bit too fragmentic track Plaint. The final composition is the long The Water Road, mainly quite laidback (in the vein of the beautiful Italian 'pastoral' prog like Celeste and Apotheosi) with a dreamy sound of flute, cello, hobo, halfway followed by more powerful work on Hammond, Mellotron and Fender piano. Then the music slows down but in the final part the music turns into bombastic and compelling with fiery electric guitar, fluent drum work and lush violin-Mellotron, a splendid goodbey!

I am impressed by the alternating sound of Thieves' Kitchen on their new album The Water Road, this is very interesting new progrock!

P.s.: After writing this review I noticed that this album is categorized in Neo-Prog. Well, Neo-prog haters (I know many are around here on PA), don't look the other way because The Water Road obviously scouts the border between symphonic rock and jazzrock, there is not a single 'neo-prog note' on this new Thieves' Kitchen CD!

erik neuteboom | 4/5 |

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