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(61:23; Giant Electric Pea)
TRACK LIST: 1. Ragusa 5:17 2. Skyboat 5:47 3. The Crawler 8:50 4. Moon-Catcher (Heaven Song Part 2) 4:38 5. The Crossing 7:10 Big Eastern : 6. Part 1 - Cruel Skies 12:02 7. Part 2 - The Shaking Earth 10:35 8. Part 3 - A Life In Chinatown 7:04 LINEUP: Guy Manning - vocals, keyboards, bouzouki, mandolin, guitars, bass, percussion Marek Arnold - saxophones, SeaBoard Sean Timms - keyboards, guitars, vocals, programming Daniel Mash - bass with: Brody Green - drums Luke Machin - guitars Antonio Vittozzi - guitars Tzan Niko - guitars Raf Azaria - violin David B. - backing vocals Julie King - backing vocals Kevin Currie - backing vocals The Gospo Collective and Jones Commentary Choir members - chorus vocals (2,7)
Prolusion. Following the success of their first 2017 album, On Track, Damanek a band consisting of a squad of quite experienced musicians soon released their second work in 2018. The core of the lineup (Daniel Mash, Guy Manning and Marek Arnold, whose first syllables form the bands name, plus Sean Timms) remains the same, but the line of supporting musicians on In Flight has changed somewhat in comparison with the previous year. The album consists of six songs five medium-length and one three-part epic around half an hour long.
Analysis. In Flight generally continues the route chosen in the first album, and its main characteristic features catchy melodies, smooth combinations of highly diverse musical styles and instruments are found safe and sound in the work in question. At the same time, the music has noticeably advanced, and while the first work could be characterised as pop music (though of a very refined type) with prog elements, this one has become much proggier. Although the basis of almost every song is, again, a plain verse-chorus with easy-to-remember tunes and simple beats, it usually develops so strongly and deviates into such surprising territories you can never know what to expect in this or that composition. But, again, despite all this unpredictability, there is not a moment where you can receive a shock. Everything is very smooth and concordant. Just a magic trip, and very comfortable at that. Among the musical styles you can find on the album there are such diverse as jazz, blues, oriental, folk and many others. In the middle of part 1 of Big Eastern we suddenly come to a purely classical piano section with a very interesting evolution, and in part 2 of Big Eastern you can even hear an unusual version of bossa nova. It seems that the mixture of different styles in the first album is gradually developing into a trademark style on the second one. However, there is still something to complain about, which did not allow me to give a top score to the album. The verse-chorus parts (though melodious and appealing overall) are sometimes too straightforward and a little irritating and contrast the rest of the material.
Conclusion. In Flight is a definite step forward from On Track (which was excellent in itself), a move towards more complex and challenging territories. Damanek is a very attractive band, which manages to combine simplicity and uppermost exquisiteness and refinement. Both albums could be recommended to a broad audience, from fans of relatively light music to highly critical prog lovers.
Proguessor: November 30th 2019
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