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Yesterdays - Saint​-​Exup​é​ry álma CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 67 ratings

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4 stars Saint-Exupéry álma, the 4th Yesterdays studio album. First I thought this will be an easy review to write, but the music asked for more attention to detail in the last few weeks from me.

Albums like these are making me very proud that Hungarian prog is still a thing. We know that SOLARIS will be back soon with their 3rd album in the Marsbéli kórnikák series, surely a fantastic new Hungarian offering, but until that one will arrive, Saint-Exupéry álma is in my TOP 3 albums of 2022 and not only because it's Hungarian :)

Just imagine a band with no financial background, recording, producing everything by themselves, in bedrooms, or at work, in a baroque castle and on a stage at the local theater. Mixing, artwork, everything was made by the band at home, yet this album is in the same league with the greats (who have keys to professional studios and engineers) with an audiophile, very dynamic sound, probably the best sound you've heard in the last few years from a prog band. Home production? Hats off,Yesterdays!

Song by song they bring something new and yet still something familiar. Okay, the YES influences are strong on this record, but that isn't the most precious thing about the album. Yes, it's a concept album, yes, the story is well known, but musically speaking this material is very interesting and new. Ákos Bogáti-Bokor is a great guitarist, I knew this from his previous work with SAMURAI OF PROG, PAIDARION, ARGOS, YACOBS and of course the previous Yesterdays albums, but now he is better than ever, right in your face! Yes, his style is similar to STEVE HOWE, but who can blame him? In 2022 everybody goes for a modern prog-metal, neo-prog direction. Liking HOWE's work it is almost out of style and there are not many players like Steve, so I am happy that Ákos is on his way bringing more music like this in the future.

Yesterdays has a fantastic lead singer, Stéphanie Semeniuc. I get it, Magenta comes to mind, they are the new classic in female led prog, but Stéphanie is something else. She comes from a jazzy direction giving songs like Estekék (Eveningblue... such a nice made-up word in Hungarian, yet it means so much...) more depth and color, also she has a much wider and powerful range, and thanks to the crazy rich backing vocals, the YES comparison is better. Chris Squire had his experience from singing in choirs, so does Ákos, Stéphanie and Csenge Tarsoly (backing vocals on the album) and this is where Yesterdays really shines.

Talking about CHRIS SQUIRE. Yesterdays currently has no bass player, so Ákos recorded the bass guitar parts. Turns out he is not only a HOWE fan, but he knows all the chops needed to sound like Mr. SQUIRE too. Another point in plus, great playing. In the first song Rajzolj át the middle part is a clear homage to CHRIS SQUIRE.

The 20 minute long epic, Esőtánc isn't even my favorite on this album, but it has some goosebumps moments. It must be hard to keep a 20 minute song interesting without prolonged instrumental parts, long guitar solos and Yesterdays nailed this. Nice syncopation, great drum-bass work, especially playing the S.O.S. signal, Morse-code rhythm in unison. So many details, nuances. This song is begging for listening to it in repeat.

And there are those beautiful Beatles-like moments, of Supertramp Wurlitzer piano parts in Ma minden érdekel with stellar vocal performance again. Flutes (Kecskeméti Gábor is fantastic!), percussion (Kósa Dávid), funny narration in French, symphonic parts, these make Yesterdays so much different from their biggest influence: YES... they can afford to be funny and more crazy, like in the solo part of this song which reminded me of THE FLOWER KINGS' great Stolt guitar moments. But using talk-box guitar sounds in prog is very unique (in Úgy várj majd rám - probably the best song on the album).

Another great musical moment is Engedj el... yeah, so much Genesis in it, but who cares? Yesterdays have that great sensibility of writing good songs, and if something brings back PHIL COLLINS' writing style from the DUKE era, I don't care, I am happy with it. Lush electric piano sounds, beautiful melody sung by Stéphanie again, the chorus is so catchy, I can't help myself singing along (good thing to be Hungarian). The middle part, where the pilot said goodbye to the Little Prince was sung by Ákos this time. Such a nice choice. Double tracked vocals with precision accompanied by beautiful crescendos thanks to the bass and the mellotron. The guitar solo is beyond the Howe influences. No blues-licks here - okay, that's like Howe - but more contemporary classical music style with a nice Soundchaser aftertaste. Loving it, and Zsigó László proves to be a fantastic drummer, I know him since the TABULA SMARAGDINA album "A szavakon túl" (another fine Hungarian album!).

I am very impressed by this album, the music keeps growing in me and thanks to the beautiful lyrics and great interpretation of Stéphanie the layers of the story are as one with the music. Definitely this is one of the top albums of 2022. Looking forward for more Yesterdays stuff in the future. More than four Hungarian stars, it is already an Eastern European classic.

Chamber101 | 4/5 |


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