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Siiilk - Way To Lhassa CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.99 | 37 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The first album released by the oddly-named Siiilk is as close to essential as any debut by a new group in recent memory. But of course the band isn't entirely new: their pedigree extends back to Prog's mid-'70's golden age, with roots in the symphonic space rock of PULSAR, last heard on the year 2007 reunion album "Memory Ashes".

That same rich Pulsar sound was updated for the new ensemble, built around the original core of Gilbert Gandil (guitar) and Jacques Roman (keyboards). The veteran duo is reinforced here by a sympathetic rhythm section, and a singer-songwriter (Richard Pick) whose winsome voice - singing in attractively accented English - perfectly complements the atmospheric flow of the music.

An obvious knee-jerk comparison can be made to post-"Animals" Pink Floyd, minus the one-note social misanthropy of Roger Waters and with a far more appealing melodic range. The tempos are relaxed, the mood is wistful, and the gorgeous arrangements were further enriched by some exotic instrumentation: French Horn, harmonium, bass clarinet, doudouk (an Armenian oboe), and the delicate soprano of Catherine Pick, matching the gentle cadence of her husband Richard's lead vocals.

But the anchor is Gandil's lead guitar, played as always in a style midway between Steve Hackett and David Gilmour, albeit with a romantic signature all his own (he is French, after all...) The songwriting is arguably too measured at times, rarely straying from the same chords and tuning. But the music itself is undeniably luscious, rising on occasion toward moments of genuine passion, as heard in Gandil's soaring guitar solo on "Leaving North", or the ecstatic climax to the title track.

All those extra letter "i's" in the band's moniker are a nuisance. But their first recorded effort begins at a point other groups would be happy to consider as a career peak, with the promise of even better music to come (a second album was just released at this writing: stay tuned...)

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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