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Grice - One Thousand Birds CD (album) cover

ONE THOUSAND BIRDS

Grice

 

Crossover Prog

3.00 | 4 ratings

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TCat
3 stars 'Grice' is a solo project from UK formed by multi-instrumentalist and composer Jim Peters who has been a member of several different bands and has also written soundtracks for TV programs and movies. Under the name of Grice, Jim has released 3 full length albums since 2012, including his third album 'One Thousand Birds' released in March of 2019.

There were many guests musicians recruited (including a string trio) to help out with this album, though Jim plays most of the instruments and provides most of the vocals. One of the guests is Richard Barbieri from Porcupine Tree and Japan, who provides the synths, provides some of the effects and programming on the title track 'one thousand birds (morning glory)', which starts off this album. Once a slow beat is established by electronic percussion, a lovely piano melody starts with some synth and storm and bird effects in the background. The music is peaceful and melodic. After the halfway point, the percussion effect stops and we're left with a cello and some atmospheric ambience that finishes off the instrumental track. 'Hardest to Reach' picks up the pace with a moderate rhythm, this time provided by drums (from Marco Maggiore who plays the drums throughout this album) and a nice flowing piano and guitars. Vocals start out early with a nice melodic theme. This mellow song is an expressive track at over 7 minutes. Halfway through, there is a spoken word passage in Greek provided by guest Maria Peters.

The music continues with this pleasant and mellow sound that has a soft and lush sound to it for the most part on this album. The vocals easily match the music, which is quite accessible, but with melodies that are a bit more complicated than your standard melody. The lyrics are pensive and at times romantic but also a bit uneasy. Most of the songs have vocals, but there a few that are instrumental also. Some have a degree of drama and a symphonic feel provided by keys and the excellent string arrangements as in 'She Burns'. The songs were written to help inspire introspection to the unconsoled, which explains the pensive attitude present in the music. Various other instruments help provide more depth to the music as does the French horn in 'The Passing' or the autoharp in 'Letterbomb'.

The pace picks up a bit more in 'Hungersleep' and the track is accented by a guitar solo and a bit more intensity. 'As I Am' builds from it's soft beginnings to generate more power with a fuzzy guitar solo in the 2nd half of the song. 'La Foresta Assente' brings in a bit more interest with a heavily percussive and atmospheric track, which I can't help but think would have created a better album if more songs took this direction instead of the more accessible direction that it takes. At over 9 minutes, the longest track on here is 'Comfort Zone' which creates some unease in the dark atmosphere that runs through the track. It later turns into a nice, twinkling track and is one of the highlights of the album. However, on 'Steam', he sings about being out of steam, and tracks like this one proves to be correct. There are too many mediocre tracks here..

For the most part, this album is quite laid back and mellow, and with several medium to long tracks here, some of the tracks drag quite a bit, since there isn't a lot of build up or changes throughout each track. There are some lovely passages and a few places where things do liven up a bit. There is also very little progressiveness to the album overall. In the end, you do get a pleasant listen that is quite accessible, and the small string ensemble gives a lot of depth to some tracks, but in the end, it is somewhat underwhelming.

TCat | 3/5 |

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