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(55:16; Lobate Scarp)
This album was released all the way back in 2012, but I have only just come across it after I reviewed last year’s ‘Spiral and Portals’ EP. At the time, the line-up was Adam Sears (lead vocals, keyboards, piano), Hoyt Binder (lead guitar), Nate Olmos (guitar, vocals), Adrienne Woods (cello, vocals), Andy Catt (bass, upright bass, guitar, vocals) and Dustin Prince (drums) plus on this album there is also a full choir as well as percussionist Alex Acuna who will probably always be best known for Weather Report but has appeared on countless other albums as well. The album was produced by Steven Leavitt and mixed and mastered by none other than Rich Mouser (Spock's Beard, Transatlantic, Neal Morse), who is still involved with the band today. There is no way this sounds like a debut album, and one can understand why it apparently took more than five years to record. It is wonderfully layered, with percussion and drums having an incredibly important part to play, the bass providing the bottom end, cello providing both depth and lightness, guitars to the fore, plenty of keyboards and then Adam at the front singing his heart out. The band are happy to switch between different lead elements and moving into long instrumental passages is not a problem for them. I am not surprised Rich Mouser was involved in the band, as the music is quite reminiscent of Spock’s Beard at times, and when the choir comes in such as on the title track it really takes it to a new level. That song is more than 15 minutes long, but it seems to fly past with different musicians taking centre stage, solos swapped between the band (take a bow Andy Catt whose bass playing is simply incredible). There is so much going on, but the album never feels cluttered, rather that every single note from every instrument is needed at that exact moment. They can turn on a dime, changing direction and even end songs unexpectedly so that the listener stares at the player. Against that, the songs are all very easy to get inside and enjoy the first time of playing, and like Morse, Sears has an innate understanding of what makes a great song with wonderful arrangements. It is strange to think this is the only album to date, but Adam tells me the band are currently working on a new one, although they are finding it difficult in isolation. This may have passed me by when it first came out eight years ago, so if you are in the same position this is something you need to check out right now.
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