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ARCHIVE

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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Archive biography
ARCHIVE started off as a trip-hop outfit back in 1994 when Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths got together with female singer Roya Arab and a young rapper named Roski John. They released a few singles on their own Swam label and broke up in 1996 following some dispute. A year later, they reformed with new personnel to record their first official album entitled "Londinium" - purely trip-hop. After a brief split-up once again, Keeler and Griffiths hired yet another couple of musicians and in 1999, released "Take My Head" - strictly a pop album. In 2002, with yet another set of helpers, they finally decided to go prog and gave us "You All Look the Same to Me".

From the very first notes of "You All Look the Same to Me", you can tell the boys all hold their PINK FLOYD collections in high esteem. It incorporates mainly floydian elements with some RADIOHEAD and COLDPLAY, and features some well orchestrated epics that merit its inclusion on this site. However, the fan base is much divided as to its progressive merits: some rave about it while others would much rather have the boys stick to their trip-hop shenanigans. One thing they do agree on is the excellent musicianship displayed throughout.

If you're a true-blue PINK FLOYD affionado, ARCHIVE's latest release won't live up to your standards. If RADIOHEAD or PORCUPINE TREE meet your prog criteria, then there's a fair chance you will appreciate it.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : ;

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LondiniumLondinium
Universal I.S. 1997
$8.06
$3.53 (used)
2525
Dangervisit 2019
$10.60
$19.00 (used)
Controlling CrowdsControlling Crowds
Wea Int'L 2009
$25.26
$26.12 (used)
The False FoundationThe False Foundation
Pias America 2016
$4.94
$14.17 (used)
Controlling Crowds Part4Controlling Crowds Part4
WARNER BROTHERS IMPORT 2009
$8.29 (used)
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ARCHIVE discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

ARCHIVE top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.30 | 46 ratings
Londinium
1996
2.85 | 39 ratings
Take My Head
1999
3.68 | 113 ratings
You All Look The Same To Me
2002
3.24 | 35 ratings
Michel Vaillant
2003
3.35 | 51 ratings
Noise
2004
3.43 | 21 ratings
Unplugged
2004
3.44 | 56 ratings
Lights
2006
3.62 | 78 ratings
Controlling Crowds
2009
3.76 | 62 ratings
Controlling Crowds Part IV
2009
3.52 | 63 ratings
With Us Until You're Dead
2012
3.40 | 46 ratings
Axiom
2014
3.51 | 61 ratings
Restriction
2015
3.39 | 19 ratings
The False Foundation
2016

ARCHIVE Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.48 | 20 ratings
Live At The Zenith
2007

ARCHIVE Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 8 ratings
Live Athens
2011

ARCHIVE Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.89 | 9 ratings
Michel Vaillant (Bande originale du film)
2003
4.27 | 11 ratings
Controlling Crowds Complete Edition I - IV
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
25
2019

ARCHIVE Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.64 | 9 ratings
The Absurd
2002

ARCHIVE Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Take My Head by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.85 | 39 ratings

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Take My Head
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars Archive, a Crossover Prog band has been around for a while now, but they had quite a rocky start. Darius Keeler and Danny Griffiths started out the band and got a rapper, Roski John, and a female vocalist Roya Arab and put together their first album, a complete trip-hop album called "Londinium" in 1996. It was a decent album considering it was trip-hop, but it was centered around a heavy electronic sound, quite mellow and atmospheric. They broke up soon after, but reformed with two new musicians, Suzanne Wooder as vocalist and Matt Martin on drums. This 2nd album was called "Take My Head" and featured a more pop sound, both upbeat songs and ballads, but with a nice textured sound.

That's what this album is about. Released in 1999, it would prove to be another one-off before the band reformed again and moved to a more progressive sound. But all along, they kept aspects of trip-hop in their sound. "Take My Head" has some very nice tracks on it, especially the beautiful ballads. Suzanne's vocals were top-notch and fit the music perfectly, adding to the texture of the album. There were a few tracks that were a bit corny (like "Woman" and the repetitive, robotic "Take My Head"), but most of them were a nice and fresh sounding pop, for the most part.

There is nothing prog about this album, but it does hint at some of the sounds that the band would explore in years to come. There is a nice upbeat and danceable sound in "You Make Me Feel", an almost rave sounding "Well Known Sinner" that takes a sudden left turn in the middle moving to a slower and darker sound. There is the beautiful and heart-felt ballad "The Pain Gets Worse" that has some amazing layered harmonies and symphonic textures later in the song. "Rest My Head on You" is also a lovely ballad.

Overall, it is an okay album that merits playing once in a while, but it is not progressive in any sense. In fact, the previous album was probably more progressive, even though it is complete trip hop. The turn to progressive music would come with the next album, but this still achieves a 3 star status nevertheless.

 With Us Until You're Dead by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.52 | 63 ratings

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With Us Until You're Dead
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars Archive took a few years off after releasing their concept "Controlling Crowds" albums. Their fans which are mostly European, were excited when the band finally announced this album in 2012, and they have been averaging an album a year since. This was a decent follow up to the previous concept albums, but this one doesn't follow any specific concept. The nice thing about it is the variation in the vocalists, you get quite a differentiation in the vocals, but a consistency in the bands signature electronic sound with the usual added organic sounds. They continue to combine progressive "Pink Floydean" textures, throwing some shoegaze and rave into the mix.

This time around there are two male and two female vocalists. They usually don't harmonize together like you would expect from another mostly electronic Pink Floyd inspired band called "Pure Reason Revolution", but many of their songs are very strong and emotional, while others are kind of flat on this album. Personally, for the most part, I love their slow and lush songs more than the upbeat ones, mainly because there not as repetitive.

The album starts out excellent with "Wiped Out" which builds to a very emotional climax with some amazing vocals, almost "Muse"-like, but better. Things sag a little at this point, and the hopes that were built up in the first track tend to lead to disappointment, that is until you get to "Conflict", which by the time it starts in with a percussion solo, gives a well needed pick me up to the album. This is one point where the faster song comes in at the right place. "Violently" is a little more progressive and is another highlight. "Calm Now" and "Silent" flow into each other and are two very beautiful songs lead by female vocalists and the string orchestra mixed with the electronics. "Twisting" is more upbeat and again shows off some great vocals and mood swings.

At this point the album starts to get mediocre and boring again. "Hatchet" has a good solid beat by the time it gets to the end of the song, but it takes way too long to get there that you almost don't care when it does take off. "Damage" is another one that sounds like it's going to build up to something, but when it finally arrives at the 3 minute mark, it isn't the payoff that you expect. It's not bad, it's just not as good as it was making itself out to be. By the end of this 7 minute song, everything sounds quite disjointed.

There are some nice harmonies on "Rise" but the melody just isn't interesting enough. "Aggravated Twisted Fill" was pretty good, but then the album ends with a weak effort with "Soul Tired".

I remember being really excited about this release the first time I heard it. But that excitement was short lived because the next time I listened, I just couldn't generate that same excitement, and now it just doesn't hold my interest all the way through it. There are a lot of high points, but the low points can weigh the entire album down too much. Before the release of the next album "Axiom", I thought the reason for the inconsistency of this album was because they needed to have a concept to give it more cohesiveness, but I soon learned that was not the case as "Axiom" was a concept album, but still missed the mark, and I was disappointed right away with that album. Things would get better, but this seemed to be a pattern with the band at this point, some great material, some mediocre and some just plain boring and repetitive. As far as this album, overall, the low points seem to outweigh the high points.

 The Absurd by ARCHIVE album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2002
2.64 | 9 ratings

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The Absurd
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

2 stars This is a 4-song EP by the trip--hop group Archive. It was released to promote the song "The Absurd" from the album "You All Look the Same to Me". The album is one of the band's best and is definitely worth checking out. This EP however, is rather hard to find, and the best song on it is the title song, which is on the full album. The other songs on this EP are "Junkie Shuffle" which is a 10 minute song. Even with that amount of time, the song really doesn't develop much and even gets boring by the end. Next up is "Sham" which is not on the regular album, and it is a little better, but Archive has much better material than this on the album. The lost track is "Men Like You" which is the same track that is on the regular album, and it is probably one of the weaker tracks on it. So nothing here really is worth the trouble, time or money if you are lucky enough to find it, unless you are a collector. The songs, except for the title track are all mediocre at best and I guess that is why the exclusive tracks were left off the album. Look for any of their other albums because the band is great, but these songs lack substance.
 The False Foundation by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.39 | 19 ratings

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The False Foundation
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by King Manuel

4 stars Exciting, Innovative and progressive

This is probably Archive's most progressive release so far. Progressive not in the sense of Progressive Rock (it's probably the album with the least "Rock" in Archive's discography), but in terms of progression in sound and structure; a demonstration that on Album Nr. 10 Archive are a progressing collective that is not standing still after all those years. This album, although in many ways still radiating Archive as we know them, definitely feels different. It is more electronic, more machine beat driven, darker and the individual songs often deviate from the initial path they started on. And this is what makes this album one of the most interesting, exciting and rewarding Archive albums to listen to. There are surprises lurking around every beat and harmony keeping the listener engaged from the first to the last second. It is definitely an album requiring undivided attention and concentration - or in other words this is a typical headphone album I would say. Highly recommended to the open minded Archive fan!

 Restriction by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.51 | 61 ratings

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Restriction
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by Gallifrey

3 stars My only other experience with Archive to this date has been with With Us Until You're Dead, about 6 months ago. And that was a very weird experience.

On first listen, I was totally fascinated. It was like a merger of Porcupine Tree with bleep bloop- era Radiohead, simultaneously being rocky and groove-ridden as electronic and intricate. So naturally, I put it straight in my 'regular rotation' playlist, as I thought it would be a record I needed to listen to a bit more. But strangely, the more I listened to it, the more it stopped being interesting and started being really, really annoying. Parts I once considered great now frustrate me to no end, and some parts I'm left wondering what I even liked about it at all. The compositions were so rooted in repetition of annoying fragments, very little in terms of strong melodies or ideas, and the idea of listening to it again makes me more nauseous than exciting.

And strangely enough, on Restriction, I've sort of had the opposite happen. On first listen, I felt the same way that I felt about With Us Until You're Dead at the end - this is lazy, uninteresting music that puts about as much effort into the songs as they do life into the performances. All the songs sounded like B-sides from a band like The Gathering, songs that have little blips of goodness in them, but overall just don't stand up on their own to be called 'songs'. But now that I've given it a bit more time, it's actually grown on me quite a bit, to the point where I'd nearly call it a 'good album'. It still has that feeling of laziness to it, and some of the tracks are utterly maddening, but there is more good than bad here, and at times the album's actually surprisingly solid.

The best part of the album happens at the end of the first half, with the run of 'End of Our Days' through to 'Half Built Houses', with Archive playing three of the best songs of their modern era in quick succession, all being slow, solemn, melodic songs. After a poor start to the album, 'End of Our Days' comes in with beautiful piano and vocals, but the track is really made by the fantastic use of vocal samples as ambience, creating beautiful layers of layers of sound during the song's climax. This then leads into 'Third Quarter Storm', another very soft ballad track, using the male vocalists this time, and proves that Archive can write some really nice melodies when they need to, there's some more great vocal layering here, and the song breaks into a thick synth section which is honestly the first time Archive do something electronic that doesn't sound uninspired. Thirdly we have 'Half Built Houses', which has some fantastic ambience again, this time made using distant tremolo guitars. It's honestly surprising how different these songs are to the first three, and I feel the album could be a bit better if they were more spread out.

But the album does pick up again after another gap of uninspired electro nonsense, for the last four tracks, and while they aren't as good as the three solemn tracks in the middle, they're still pretty decent and inoffensive. 'Crushed', despite continuing with that poor guitar tone, actually manages to get a bit of power and grit behind the song, actually feeling somewhat intense as opposed to weak and dated. 'Greater Goodbye' has a nice Anathema-esque vocal part over more ambient guitars, and like many songs here, feels like it could be a great track with a bit more work (although those 'la la la' vocals near the end are awful). 'Ladders' is a bit repetitive and annoying but it also has some nice melodies in it.

But while I enjoy these songs, there is still a great feeling of annoyance coming with these tracks. Taking big influence from Radiohead, the drums on the entire album sound straight off Kid A's title track, and not in a good way. Repetitive, uninteresting timbres riddle the entire record, with not so much as a glitch or a twist coming in to show of their producing skills. They use electronic percussion, but only use it for its bad parts, and not the good. And to add to that, and some of the less interesting timbres here (read: all the guitars and all the drums), many of the songs just quite simply don't have the substance to be worth anything.

The album's title track, and 'Ruination' are the only songs here I would really call bad, getting there by repeating one uninteresting line over and over and over until it becomes beyond the territory of uninteresting and into the territory of absolutely maddening. Especially in combination with that bloody guitar lick at the end of every phrase in the title track. God, I want to bloody punch my speakers every time it comes in. Opening track 'Feel It' starts off with a hellishly dull instrumental beat and one of the worst guitar parts I have ever heard, with only the vocals there to hold it up, but as the song progresses, some piano and raised intensity comes in to (almost) save it. In combination with the awful title track and the poor 'Kid Corner', the entire album gets off to a very poor start, which many will inevitably judge it on. 'Riding In Squares' starts off as one of the worst on the record, but about halfway through a truly awesome synth part comes in and turns it into one of the best. As I have already said, so many of these songs sound like low- effort b-sides that took five minutes to write. It's like I'm listening to a bunch of computer demos for a band about to go to studio to sort the bad from good.

But even if this album is very amateurish, maddening, and plain bad at times, there obviously is still some good here, and enough to bring me back to this record a couple of times. But personally, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone. The good is too scattered, and not worth going through the bad to get too. One thing I will give the entire album credit for is the flow - all the songs link together very well, although at times that is a bad thing and at times it's good, it certainly is the only thing that proves to me that Archive have put any real effort into this album. An okay album, but not one I'm likely to return to after this review.

6.2

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

 Restriction by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.51 | 61 ratings

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Restriction
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Archive triumphantly return in 2015 with some of their best work ever, a wonderful way to start the new year in prog. Starting out as a hidden gem of '90's trip hop that uniquely programmed mellotron and Hammond sounds into their samplers, they ended up moving into prog proper, along the way shedding the hop but not the trip. Their LP debut "Londinium" was masterful, but in their prog days so far their work, enjoyable as it has always been, pales to a fair degree. Until now, that is, with "Restriction" finding the band managing to finally truly master their style, and on top of that add post-industrial influences and so sealing this album's greatness. Their progressive trip rock comes out fully formed and better than ever, grabbing listeners with the one-two punch of "Feel It" and the title track, and only getting better and more enjoyable from there. Going through the record, there are also the aforementioned post-industrial moments, mainly the closer "Ladders", my personal favourite and an eerie yet appropriate way to end this journey. The band just pulls out all the stops to truly show what they can do. Fans will be bowled over in ecstasy and many other listeners will become hooked. This does prog bleakness better than some of Steven Wilson's work, even. Highly recommended to modern crossover and trip fans.
 Londinium by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.30 | 46 ratings

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Londinium
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by LearsFool
Collaborator Post/Math Rock Team

5 stars Before Archive became one of the hidden gems of modern crossover prog, they were one of the many hidden gems of the '90's glory days of trip hop. But, even then it seems they had prog on the brain: Keeler's programming on this album involves a lot of sounds that come out more like mellotron and Hammond organ than any other keyboard, which they are played alongside via sampler. Hmmm... I wonder what this band could do in a few years... Anyways, for what it is "Londinium" is one of the greatest ever trip hop albums, partially on the strength and use of mellotron and organ sounds. This adds an extra, extremely unique angle to most of the tracks on the record. Otherwise, this is some nice, smooth, tight trip not afraid to have both rapping and singing. The beats are well done, and well supported by Rosco John's drumming. Keeler's various keys are all excellent, not just the proggy ones. Roya Arab sings beautifully, and John raps wonderfully. As such, mainly a massive recommendation to trip hop fans, but adventurous progheads may wish to hear what prog keyboards sound like in a radically different genre.
 Controlling Crowds Part IV by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.76 | 62 ratings

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Controlling Crowds Part IV
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars This is the 2nd album to the Controlling Crowds concept. The companion album was released in the previous year before this and it contained the first 3 parts in 13 tracks. Part IV takes up this entire album and it is the concluding section of the concept which is about 50 minutes long compared to over 70 minutes on the previous album.

The format is quite close to the last album in that there are still 4 lead singers (one is a rapper who appears on a few of the tracks here). The vibe still echoes of trip-hop and lite prog with a lot of rock and pop sensibilities but with a lot of variety and quality in the musicianship. To me, this album seems more polished than the last one, but if anything, that actually works to make this one not quite as cohesive as the last album in that each song seems too distinct and not so tied together. These issues are quite minor though.

The music here is still heavy on keyboard and programming, but as I said on the previous album, this actually works well here. The writing on both of the albums is stellar and so is the sound. The album starts off in a faster tempo which is a nice change of pace after the mostly mid to slow tempo previous album. The 2nd track actually uses some interesting prog hooks and some great effects. "To the End" has some very original and beautiful harmonics in the vocals. "Pictures" features some quick percussion backing up an interesting slow and airy vocal and the strings build up nicely to a beautiful, strong dynamic more reminiscent of the first album in the series. Interesting sounds flow throughout the tracks, but also contribute to the somewhat disconnected feeling of the tracks as a whole.

Now, even though the quality and musicianship remain high for the rest of the album, the songs tend to lack a little bit of dynamic that was more present in the last album. I think the idea was to try to prepare the songs for more accessibility for the radio, but I think it makes the album suffer a little bit. In any case, it's still prog in the same vein as The Alan Parsons Project (not the same sound, but the same sub-genre and way of thinking) but with a more mature sound and musicality. In other words, better than the APP for the most part and not as cheesy. Don't get me wrong, it worked for APP in the early days, but Archive is just so much better.

So, where my personal taste for the first album was 5 stars, the PA rating system merited it a 4 star rating. In this case, I am more in agreement with the final rating on this one, personal and PA rating both sit at 4 stars.

 Controlling Crowds by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.62 | 78 ratings

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Controlling Crowds
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

5 stars Edit: After all this time, this album has grown on me even more, so I have adjusted my original rating of 4 stars to 5 stars.

I always wonder why Archive is not better known in North America like they are elsewhere. The music is a straightforward lite prog with a very accessible sound, a lot of pop and rock sensibilities and a lot of originality. Most of the music is slow to medium tempo. There are several vocalists and all of them with nice voices and one rapper that appears every so often. Their music is beautiful, even as beautiful as the best Pink Floyd tracks. They have everything going for them, except North America has not discovered them yet.

So, their roots are in trip-hop and you can hear a lot of that still in their music. But this is excellent quality music. I've used the term beautiful to describe their music and that term is the best way to describe this album. It is true that there is a lot of keyboards and programming on this album and in most of their music. There can be some repetition, and on some albums, it does go overboard from time to time, but not here. Everything works together beautifully, even the 3 tracks with rapping, because it is appropriate for the music. There is a lot of variety in the vocals and that really works well with this kind of music. It also works well with the concept on this album.

The album is divided into 3 sections. Part 1 takes up the first 5 tracks, Part II the middle 5 tracks and Part III the last 3 tracks. The atmosphere is mostly airy with a lot of build up in many of the songs. There is an amazing use of dynamics which helps to keep the few repetitive parts interesting, but repetition is done very well throughout the album and it is mostly kept to a minimum which is a huge plus on this album. I said previously that this is lite progressive, so don't expect a lot of groundbreaking sounds and sophisticated meter changes. The beauty here is in the simplicity of the music. There is an orchestra playing in most of the tracks and the arrangements are tastefully done and only work to make the music more poignant and lovely.

I know a lot of people probably get turned off by the trip-hop label attached to this band, but they do it all so well and it never gets old on this album. Most of the trip-hop is carried over in the instruments than the vocals. But even the tracks that feature rapping are not hard to enjoy, they add to the variety and the instrumentals in them remain as beautiful as on the other tracks. At over 70 minutes, you also get your money's worth in music quantity and of course the quality is definitely worth the time and money you invest in this music.

Originally, there was going to be a Part IV included in this CD package, but it was decided to release that on a separate album since it is a much longer section. The next album that was released is Part IV. Instead of releasing Part IV with this package, they released a 2nd disc that has four more songs that only work to add more enjoyment to the songs on the main disc. There is also a video to the track "Bullets" on the disc.

Anyway, I highly recommend this album to anyone looking for a well done emotional and dynamic album and Part IV is also highly recommended. My own personal rating for this is 5 stars, but the lite use of Prog on this means the ProgArchive rating is 4 stars. It definitely is an excellent addition to any music collection and those people who like an accessible lite prog with a great collection of beautifully written songs need to check this album out, or at least check out the band. I know that when I play this music for other people that they always are pleased with it. Definitely better than anything by another lite prog group called the Alan Parsons Project and more complex than that. And that's from a person that enjoys APP especially the earlier years. Again, highly recommended.

 Axiom by ARCHIVE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.40 | 46 ratings

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Axiom
Archive Crossover Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars I love this band and I love it when they release an album that is well done. However, throughout their discography, they have had a few misses. This particular album falls somewhere in the middle in my opinion. It is a concept album, but I am not familiar with the story behind it yet, so it might be loosely based upon a religious theme. But it seems also to be somewhat dark and has a very ambient feeling to it. There are 3 excellent tracks and 4 that are mediocre and I find them repetitive. The best tracks are 1, 2, and 5. They are beautiful, dark and inventive. The others are too repetitive but are nice if you are listening to them to relax and fall asleep except for the fact that they are dark and might influence your mind to give you some bad dreams. This is probably not the best place to start if you are interested in hearing some of their music, I would suggest the album "You All Look the Same to Me" or "Controlling Crowds" as the place to start investigating their music. This band is quite popular in some European countries and sometimes I think their taste is a lot better than what I hear on a lot of American Radio lately. Another band that has a huge following overseas and not so big in America is Porcupine Tree, so let that be something you can measure that comment by. BTW, Archive is not like Porcupine Tree, their sound is more electronic and considered by some as trip hop. But don't let that scare you away, I am not much of a trip hop fan, but I do like Archive for the most part for their inventiveness, their inclusion of prog elements in a lot of their music, and the variety and beauty of their music. Unfortunately, even though this is a good album, it is below what I expect from this great band.
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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