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Arjen Anthony Lucassen - Pools Of Sorrow - Waves Of Joy CD (album) cover


Arjen Anthony Lucassen

Crossover Prog

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
2 stars There's very few of Ayreon or of the most famous side projects of Arjen Lucassen is this solo album that I think was his first release at all.

"Wrong Side Of The Street" contains the seeds of what will come later. The first chords are quite similar to the intro of "Day one" from the Ayreon's masterpiece "The Human Equation", but soon turns into a sort of heavy-pop. Anyway it's easily recognizable if you are into Ayreon's work, it's only still too connected to the 80s longhair metal bands. I think that also the track's title shows where it's from. Not bad anyway: the melodic side of Ayreon is at embryonic state in this song.

"Best Of Friends" is melodic pop. I can compare this genre to early Wigwam, I mean a song like "Nuclear Nightclub" for its connection with the British glam and the Beatles. The Wigwam's song is very better than this, it's just to give an idea.

The things don't change much with "Crescendo". It's not as glam as the previous, but it's very radio friendly. It's Arjen Lucassen, with some hints of the greatness to come but this song is honestly poor.

"Cry Yourself To Sleep" opens nicely with little noises, of the kind that one can hear while sleeping, but what follows looks like a tribute to the Beatles with a nice cymbals and strings arrangement.

I like the following song, but it's just a pop easy tune with a captivating chorus. Effectively I don't know why I like it. Technically it doesn't say anything, it's just a nice tune with quite trivial lyric, but for some strange reason I like it.

"Escape" shows a side of Arjen Lucassen that's not very evident in his further works but sometimes comes up to air. It's a slow rock song with an American flavor. CCR, Tom Petty mainly, but also echoes of Guns and Roses. The chorus has similarities with Spandau Ballet's "Through The Barricades".

"Country Girls, City Boys" says everything about the NorthAmerican influence. It's what the title says: a country-rock song mentioning "Memphis, Tennessee" in the lyrics.

"Summer's In The Air" has a baroque intro and the feeling is a bit more European. At least Arjen mentiones Saint Tropez. A song for folk singers-songwriters based on acoustic guitar, voice and concertina.

"Days Of The Knights" is more promising. The title is epic and this is a touch of the prog metal that will come. A song that could easily find a place in an Ayreon's album.

"Not Over You" has an electronic start followed by acoustic guitar and voice. The singer shows a vibrato "a la Roger Chapman" and the song reminds to Led Zeppelin. So not a typical Lucassen thing but a very good song with a retro taste.

"Night On The Town" brings us back to USA, with the rhythm guitar crying "Tom Petty". Good if you like the genre.

"A Losing You" comes directly from the 80s both for the rhythm and the sounds used. A song of this kind could be sold to Duran Duran. However the touch of Lucassen is perceivable so it's not very bad.

"Midnight Train" is a short country bluegrass song. Mentioning CCR before was not so hazardous. Does anybody know the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band? It's THAT kind of country music.

Finally the short closer and title track which starts with a guitar harping similar to the start of In The Court Of The Crimson King (but it's only for few seconds), then it's just the opportunity to show some guitar skills with a solo. We'll find again the final noises on Actual Fantasy.

My impression, supported by the photo on the albums cover, is that Arjen was very young at the time of this release and he hadn't found yet a musical direction. There's a number of good ideas confused in a mix of pop and american folk music.

Not a stay-away album. As I have written there are things that I like and it's good for when you just need some relax. I think it's good for driving, however only Ayreon's and Lucassen fans can really be interested in this early work, hereby my rating is only two stars.

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Posted Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | Review Permalink

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