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byron - A Kind Of Alchemy CD (album) cover

A KIND OF ALCHEMY

byron

 

Crossover Prog

3.64 | 25 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'A Kind Of Alchemy' - byron (7/10)

Despite coming out with an involving and complex debut album, Romanian art rock quintet byron (spelt with a lower case 'b') instantly captured me with their first work 'Forbidden Drama.' From the first listen onwards, the group's beautiful collage of styles, catchy songwriting and passionate performance stole my heart and left me yearning for more. For all of it's strengths however, the debut album felt a bit disjointed and overly ambitious for a single-disc venture; the variety of sounds made the flow a bit of a bumpy ride. With byron's second full length project, the group is quick to solve the problems of cohesion, but at the sacrifice of the sense of discovery and some of the excitement that made 'Forbidden Drama' such a treasured experience. In it's own right however, 'A Kind Of Alchemy' is a logical development for the band's sound, and shows byron latching onto some of their better musical aspects, and elaborating on them.

Fashioning one of the weirdest and unsettling album covers I have ever seen, the artwork might falsely market 'A Kind Of Alchemy' to be a one-dimensional and whimsical piece of music that's solely meant to be listened for the sake of jest. Much to the contrary, 'A Kind Of Alchemy' is even more involved and resonant than it's acclaimed predecessor. Once again delving into political-socio commentary with their lyrics, there is no running narrative with the piece, but you certainly get the feeling after a few listens that the album flows exactly the way it is meant to be. With a new bassist in the band, it's also surprising how much a single band member can change the group's sound. Things have a much funkier, even jazzy flair to them this time around.

While still being an art/alternative rock album at heart, 'A Kind Of Alchemy' is very much a grower; each listen lends to the listener, new insights into the music and newfound appreciation. While byron has certainly cut down on the large array of sounds they used to use, there's still a pleasant amount of variety here. Dan Byron and company have harnessed their flair and tamed it a bit, but the emotion and passion that make them such a vibrant group are both still here in droves.

I know I may be swimming against the tide on this one, but I think 'A Kind Of Alchemy' easily rivals the dazzling first album, and in parts; even triumphs over it. On my first few listens, I regarded it as being decent, but it quickly grew on me, in ways 'Forbidden Drama' never did. I would easily recommend anyone who is looking for an involving piece of art rock to dive into this piece of beautiful music. byron has impressed me once again!

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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