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Fren - Where Do You Want Ghosts to Reside CD (album) cover




Eclectic Prog

3.94 | 126 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I agree with all four collab reviews this far: this is a very solid four-star debut from Krakow, Poland. The quartet has existed since 2017 and I think they have very well found their style already. Instead of being yet another Polish neo prog act (don't get me wrong, for me Poland is among the finest neo prog countries!) or playing depressed heavy prog in the vein of Riverside, FREN make instrumental prog with lots of retro-ish elements. One may name several classic 70's bands as references in the attempt to describe the music, but the truth is that Fren have absorbed their numerous influences in a way that one cannot blame them for sounding closely like any band.

I'm fond of the organic sound which has the sincerity and warmth of the classic prog era. Probably the band has deliberately achieved that feeling by using analog equipment. The production is however pretty faultless, not stuffy of unbalanced at all. Each instrument is clearly heard. A few words on the six tracks: 'Twin Peaks' named after the legendary mystery series of the 90's hasn't much to do with Angelo Badalamenti's music, but the slow-paced piece succeeds to weave a strong and mysterious atmosphere slightly reminding of the melancholia in Scandinavian prog (Änglagård etc), largely helped by the use of Mellotron. 'Surge' has a Crimsonesque dark tone. The rather heavy guitar and flute-like Mellotron sounds dominate much of the 10- minutes; at 2:30 starts a gorgeous soft movement in which the beautiful bass line suddenly grabs the attention and is followed by a laid-back but passionate electric guitar solo comparable of Camel. I only wich the delicacy would have lasted longer instead of returning to the riff-oriented heaviness. Near the end the organ leads to Uriah Heepish territory.

On the shortest, 3-minute third track the acoustic piano makes its first notable appearance. Even though there's again some heaviness on guitars, the piano makes me think of Renaissance's Ashes Are Burning era. Piano is central on the 12-minute highlight 'Pleonasm'. Wow, here the beautiful melodies and the classical music flavour bring a lovely symphonic prog feel to the music, and the occasional jazziness is the cherry on the top. I'm sure that if you admire John Tout's pianism in Renaissance's classic albums, Oskar Cenkier's elegant touch delights you here. 'Heavy Matter' is an eclectic combination of the pianistic elegance, Crimson-like edge and some heavy and jazz nuances, and it reaches its emotional peak in a superb, David Gilmour-ish electric guitar solo. And the big chords are what I especially enjoy in the last track, as well as the moment focusing on piano.

This interestingly named album is certainly much more than just a promising debut. Here and there the music is not as melodic and emotional as I would prefer it to be (hence "only" four stars), but it does contain several passionate highlights. Thank you, Fren, I really want to be around when you release your second album!

Matti | 4/5 |


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