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Rachel's Birthday - An Invitation To Rachel's Birthday CD (album) cover


Rachel's Birthday


Eclectic Prog

3.76 | 31 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Do you want something different? GET THIS CD!

Who would want to buy this album? Look at its cover! It's not something like Roger Dean's or Ed Unitsky's or any typical prog rock cover. It's just a simple photograph of a girl with a non compelling design at all. OOoops . sorry, at least it's for my personal taste and I don't know about you. Probably you like it. "Don't judge the book from its cover!". That's probably what my prog colleague BOWO thought at the time when he purchased this album. I remember that we were at the time engaged in local rock FM station hosting Prog Rock program and Bowo introduced me to the band. I was not really stimulated at all to spin the CD as the cover was so lousy. He insisted me to have a chance enjoying the music. I thought that it must be another neo prog band as I know Mr. Bowo is neo prog die-hard fan. I was wrong, it's totally different kind of music.

I have been listening to many styles of music since childhood through bands / artists with various genres like hard rock, metal, classic, blues (oh .. I love blues man! I love John Mayall, BB King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tinsley Elis, Fenton Robinson, Pinetop Perkins, and many blues masters!), jazz, prog (with all subgenres defined until today) even music that is specific to my home-country like keroncong, dang-dut, campur-sari, klenengan, etc. Music is contagious. So I'm not surprised if new bands are influenced by their predecessors. It's natural. Some people called it derivatives. But, when I heard RACHEL's BIRTHDAY's music at the very first time, I failed to identify on what influences this band have adopted in their debut album "An Invitation to Rachel's Birthday". I even got confused which one is the band's name? Is it a project? It does not matter. Just enjoy the music. One thing is clear: the band has demonstrated its originality in its music. And . this is my view .

Birthday Invitation (1:35) is basically an overture that opens the concept (?) album with powerful, theatrical and pondering vocal line accompanied with a beautiful acoustic guitar fills and rhythm. Oh man, it's a great overture. The melody that's been chosen is strange but nice. What amazes me is the production quality. It's definitely a superb quality! Five stars out of five! Perfect sound.

Philosophy (4:08) continues from the overture with a full music that blasts off brilliantly in an upbeat tempo and uplifting mood. The music flows smoothly with sort of weird chords used by keyboard as main rhythm section to feature the powerful vocal by Ralf Glasbrenner. His vocal quality is a bit like the lead singer of Sensational Alex Harvey Band combined with Gabriel's theatrical style. Excellent voice! Keyboards play important role as rhythm section that form the textures of this song. Drum set is played dynamically augmented with solid basslines. There is short segment with guitar solo augmented with punchy keyboard work. This track is really smooth, distortion-free - that means no abrupt guitar effects. There is no major change in tempo but the song has some variation in styles that have made it very enjoyable. "Philosophy is still one thing that never reach the final end!".

Waves (24:58) is a wonderfully crafted epic. Through this epic the band delivers its music in symphonic spectrum at its best! It starts beautifully with an ambient keyboard that features powerful vocal in relatively low register notes, accompanied with electric piano touch. So melodic opening! The electric piano moves dynamically to bring the vocal increases its notes into higher ones accompanied with symphonic guitar and keyboard at the back. Oh man . what a great music! I can hear how the bass guitar is played dynamically in this opening part. Wow! Great job, Michael Six! Most keyboard works are played in multi-layer sounds accompanied with electric guitar solo as well as rhythm. I really enjoy the guitar solo at approx min 5:00 played in alternate with keyboard and sometimes interjected by dynamic and solid bass lines! Well man . I suggest you listen to this track yourself and I bet you that you will get amazed with tight composition this epic has! For me, it's an excellent treat as I think that I've never heard this kind of composition. There is also acoustic guitar work that reminds me to ELP's Greg Lake when he played "C'est La Vie" - but it's not exactly the same at all. All instruments are played wonderfully throughout this epic including: excellent drums and inventive bass lines. What also amazes me is the theatrical and operatic styles the lead singer performs in this track. SUPERB! Top notch - and never imagined before - composition! Even though it's totally different, this track reminds me to Genesis' "Supper's Ready". No one can beat this track!

Cream Tears (5:51) opens with a combined work between piano and bass guitar followed with a full music in uplifting mode that accompanies theatrical and operatic voice line. Powerful track with inventive orchestration and energetic singing that projects an image of rock opera - the good one! Weird composition but wonderful harmony!

Wedding on a Raspberry Day (5:39) is an uplifting track in relatively fast tempo with different style than other tracks. The combination of fast acoustic guitar fills and piano is excellent. The vocal sometimes reminds me to Gabriel high register notes singing style like you hear it in Foxtrot album, for example. In the middle of the track there is a beautiful combination of acoustic guitar solo in alternate with keyboard and some violin souns. Oh my GOD .. What a beautiful segment this one is!!!! If you love prog, you will definitely love this song man!! FANTASTIC and UNIQUE!

Everything's Alright (3:49) is basically a ballad prog that features acoustic guitar and vocal. Relatively straight forward in terms of structure.

A Supersonic Pest Controller (8:08). What a title! It's a unique music with funny opening part that reminds me to the music of a circus, performed in a dynamic and uplifting mood. The voice is truly SUPERB combined with inventive bass lines and excellent keyboard sounds. This one is really rock opera at its best! It contains wonderful dialogue of male and female voices with weird but nice music. There is also some jazz influence at the ending part of this track with sort of Hackettian guitar (not the same, really! But it's inventive in style!).Great composition!

Nightingale and Snake (15:05). Uuughh ...!!! I almost mad listening to the opening part this track - you know what? It's a hip-hop disco music man!! Uuugghh . what a waste of time enjoying this song! I could not bear it, it's so annoying. Fortunately, the other part of me telling "hold your thought for a second man .there might be some change!". Yup, I don't know when it happens, the music has shifted to another style with symphonic touch and operatic singing style with lively dialogue. It turns out to be a powerful music with great guitar work and keyboard sound. The ending part contains stunning keyboard and superb singing augmented with guitar solo. Wonderful!


Definitely, it's a true masterpiece especially in its originality and the courage to challenge music boundaries. It's a must have for those who really open mind with any style of music. Despite tight composition, the musicianship is also superb: not only guitar and keyboard but also drums and bass plus vocals (of course!). Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. Highly Recommended! Keep on proggin' .

Progressively yours,


Gatot | 5/5 |


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