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Tracklist: 1. Changing Sides 4:05 2. Returned To Leave 4:40 3. Leaving Without a Reason 4:19 4. Sleeping To the Dolphin Song 5:16 5. The Tired Tree 4:50 6. The Tide Can't Hold Us Back 4:34 7. Vipe Away 3:13 8. The Arrival of Sophie 3:39 (inst.) 9. My Greatest Rose 3:55 10. Final Chime 4:37 11. More Than a Story 4:53 12. Graceful - The Ending 2:34 All music & lyrics: by Mattias Holmgren. Solo Pilot: Mattias Holmgren - vocals & choirs; guitars; keyboards, synth-bass; drums Guest musicians: Ulph Johansson - lead guitars (on tracks 1, 4, & 6) Stefan Oloffson - keyboards (on 3 & 5) Recorded, mixed, & produced by Mattias Holmgren at home (1998 to 2001).
Prologue. In the face of Mattias Holmgren (a.k.a. Tired Tree), the numbers of Solo Pilots have grown again. (As far as I know, only a few Solo Pilots came out from Sweden.) In the CD booklet, Mattias noted that his music is inspired by the creation of Marillion, Yes, Dream Theater, Chicago, Phil Collins, etc. Let's see what a stylistic cocktail is presented on his debut album. By the way, Mattias is originally a drummer.
The Album. No 'cocktails' on this album, sorry. The music that is presented on "Changing Sides" is kind of a light Neo drink, the recipe of which was borrowed from Marillion (circa "Radiation"). As you understand, it's almost impossible to squeeze any-scale arrangements (not to mention the large-scale ones) into songs, the format of which, on average, is limited by three minutes. (Especially since Mattias didn't mention Gentle Giant among his inspirations.) Each of these songs is based on a simple couplet-refrain 'scheme' where there is only one instrumental part, consisting of very accessible arrangements, in the middle of it. This Swedish drummer is just a dreamer, whose love, etc, songs were sung excellently, but in bad English. (Which is obvious even for me, whose first language is Russian.) Also, there are many of the vocal parts repeating the same refrains on the album. The instrumental parts contain either the alternation of solos of guitar and synthesizer or simple interplay between them. It needs to be mention that while the guitar solos and riffs by Mattias are real and good, most of the keyboard solos on the album are unreal. These are the prepared sequences that are cycled within the framework of them themselves like in a fool circle. According to the CD booklet, Mattias used a real drum set on this album. Nevertheless, his drumming is often not unlike claps of a drum machine. Sleeping To the Dolphin Song (4), which reminds me of some of one Viking anthem, is probably the only excellent song on the album. Whereas both of the first tracks on the album, Changing Sides and Returned To Leave, as well as The Tide Can't Hold Us Back (6) and My Greatest Rose (9), are the real MTV killers. All of these songs contain the instrumental arrangements as well, but they're too short to consider them real arrangements.
Summary. Most of all, this Tired Tree reminds me of a beam that tries to swim with the current mainstream. So I got tired with Tired Tree already when 'climbing it' for the first time. "Changing Sides" features a very simple Neo, which, though, should get a solid commercial success in some of the non-English-language countries.
VM. June 19, 2002
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