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Lead vocalist and keyboard player Paul J. No and drummer/vocalist Sebastien Bournier have been playing on one another records for a long time, and four years ago decided to see if they could write songs together. They quickly realised here was the birth of a new musical outlet, and that they needed someone else to fill in the rest of the sound. Sebastien knew Jean-Philippe Benadjer (guitars, bass, vocals), and together the trio released ‘Many Miles Away’ in 2018. They wanted to record another album fairly quickly, but were having problems coming up with ideas, then Seb suggested a topic he had been thinking about for some time, namely what would happen if there were people who lived forever? Nothing lasts that long, not even the planet we reside on, so is it a blessing or a curse? Very quickly it was realised that this was a story which could not be told in a few songs, and the result is a concept album that tells the story of a man/woman who could not die. In many ways Lunear are a strange band, as the members live in three cities, in two different countries, but somehow, they make it work, and while Seb provides all the lyrics, the music for this album is very much a joint affair with everybody writing, working, and reworking, until it is complete. They describe the music as progressive pop, and to my ears it is crossover prog, very lightweight with most of the music in the higher resisters and little in the way of real depth of sound. The vocals are clear and strong, and the music is built around these as they tell the story. Steven Wilson is an obvious influence, with some Floydian touches, but they also mention Prince as an influence and once you realise that it is quite obvious in so many ways, although not what one would normally expect from a prog band. The songs are pleasant, and there are some nicely dated keyboard sounds at times, plus some strong clear and delicate guitar lines that are almost reminiscent of Camel. However, I do have some issues with the drums as there are times when they are obviously programmed, and others where they feel just too basic for the rest of the sound. I would have much preferred to having them driving a little more, and no electronics, but I can understand what they were trying to achieve. The other is the overall sound, as there is a need for more depth and darkness to counteract the light and provide the dynamics which this is crying out for. When we do get some power chords, such as on “Earth's Population: One - Earth's End” it totally transforms the music and makes for something which is far more in your face and palatable. Here we have a band showing promise, and I notice that although this is available as a CD, they also have it listed on Bandcamp as “Name Your Price” so what have you got to lose? Pleasant and enjoyable.
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