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




Symphonic Prog

4.08 | 65 ratings

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4 stars This is a review in Hungarian about the latest album of the band Yesterdays, titled "Saint-Exupéry's Dream". Their previous album, "Senki madara" was also unique, as it mixed Hungarian folk music and folk songs with progressive rock. The new album, as its title suggests, is based on the life and work of the famous French writer and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, with his most famous story, "The Little Prince," at the center. The band had been planning to dedicate a whole album to their favorite book since around 2006, but it only became a reality recently. Although the album itself took only a year to make, the band essentially put together this 9-track, 74-minute musical journey in 2021.

Since the album goes beyond the world-famous book, they did not want to simply call it "The Little Prince". The band's keyboardist at the time, Zsolt Enyedi, came up with the title "Saint-Exupéry's Dream". Unfortunately, he passed away in May 2020, but his playing can still be heard in the song "Méreg". The band dedicates this extremely ambitious concept album to his memory.

If you are familiar with Yesterdays, you will not be surprised musically, as they continue to play that kind of colorful, playful, virtuosic, yet song-centered progressive rock music that is closest to the world of YES. Like "Senki madara," the vocals are once again sung by female voices. Stéphanie Semeniuc and Csenge Tarsoly's ethereal melodies enchant us for 74 minutes. Gábor Kecskeméti plays the flute, László Zsigó plays the drums, Dávid Kósa plays the percussion and background vocals, and Francesco Faiulo plays the bass guitar in two songs. And of course, there is Ákos, who could form a band all by himself. On this album, he plays the acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar, mellotron, Hammond organ, piano, harpsichord, Minimoog, and other synthesizers, as well as contributing to the solo vocals and background vocals. I don't want to sound greedy, but I do miss the prominent presence of the fretless bass guitar on "Senki madara." But that's about all I can criticize. And it's really just that.

The intimate atmosphere of Yesterdays is magical! Wow, the singing melody in the verses is so delicious! I feel that this album is great in every way as it is! Because those who are able to write and perform a giant like "Esőtánc" which is almost 21 minutes long, and do it in a way that the playing time flies by, they really know something!The verses of "Esőtánc" bring to mind the melody of the Hungarian progressive rock pioneer band, EAST. At around the fifth minute, there's a cool acoustic guitar, clapping, harpsichord section. The level of musical freedom and diversity in Yesterdays is akin to that of one of the world's greatest bands, Queen. Around 8:10, Ákos launches into a circular, almost two-minute guitar solo that would be a credit to Joe SATRIANI, Steve VAI, or even Al Di MEOLA. Following that is an a cappella section sung in canon with the ladies, it'sa vocal fugue. In the second half of "Esőtánc," there are one or two riffs, musical solutions that bring to mind DREAM THEATER's album "The Astonishing," which did not exactly receive a positive reception at the time of its release.

The smoky, jazzy, noir-esque verses of "Ma minden érdekel" are captivating, and the energized parts and playful background vocals are excellent as well. This album is so eclectic that it gives a feeling of colorfulness and variety, rather than a pile of thrown-together themes. There are so many subtle instrumental nuances in the songs that I recommend everyone to listen to the album with headphones at least once! Even in this song, there are genius musical solutions, like the alternating and competing wah-pedal guitar solos and flute solos. The piano-dominated chamber music of "Panoptikum" penetrates the soul, and then "Méreg" starts with massive drum beats and introduces a new element, narration. As expected, Ákos quotes Exupéry, but not from "The Little Prince." The emphatic, slow drumming again evokes East and Péter Dorozsmai, while the guitar solo is GILMOUR-esque.

The Rajzolj újra (Draw Again) is a worthy conclusion to this magnificent album, with a 'reprise' quality that somewhat reflects the opening song. But with its quiet and calm tone, it is rather a beautiful farewell from the writer, from the Little Prince, and from us listeners.

This album also urges me to read The Little Prince again, because the fact is, I haven't really read it with an adult's mind. I read it several times when I was in high school, but that was 20-25 years ago... So in the coming period, I already know what I will be reading, and I also know that I will listen to this great album many times! The digipack CD is as sophisticated as the music itself. Ákos, besides making music, also likes to take photos, so his pictures are included in the booklet, and even on the cover, the disc depicts nothing else but a compass.

I'm curious if Ákos' students (since he is a music teacher in civilian life) are aware of what a caliber of a musician/songwriter is teaching them.

Saint-Exupéry álma is a fantastic symphonic prog album. Highly recommended! Four and a half stars.

Honeyburst | 4/5 |


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