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(57:04; Intelligent Music)
The second IMP album followed in 2014 and was both a continuation of the debut album and an expansion. This was the first time Milen Vrabrevski was handing over some of the control to someone else, namely legendary drummer Simon Phillips. In addition, as well as Lawton there was an additional singer in Joseph Williams (Toto) who recorded his parts in L.A. with Phillips, while the rest was recorded in Bulgaria by Ivo Stefenov, who had also been involved with the debut. Although both singers recorded their parts separately, they also provided backing vocals to the other as well. The cover is also a continuation of the same theme, which has now become synonymous with the project. This doesn’t have such a strong band feel as the debut, due in some part to the use of two powerful yet distinctively different singers, and there is also larger use of orchestration with less of a focus on strong rock guitars – there are three guitarists involved but Maxim Goranov, who made such an impact on the debut, is not one of them. As with that album, this is a digipak release, and Milen uses one of the panels to talk about the album and what he was trying to achieve, which in many ways is to expand on the positivity of the debut album and continue in the same manner. However, in many ways this feels more like a band/project in transition as Vrabrevski and Phillips (who had strong musical control) were working through how to best work together on two continents. The result is an album which has plenty of powerful elements, yet others where it feels a little pedestrian and could have done with some judicious editing. However, the vocals are sublime, and when it really works, such as on the a capella section on “Time To Move Along”, one can only smile. This may not be my favourite album from IMP but like all the others is certainly worthy of investigation.
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