Something rang a bell with me, the name ‘Keith Semple’, was very familiar, a name somewhere from the past but I couldn’t quite put a handle on it. The ‘Cyberiam’ press information too did not throw up any immediate light on the situation, however, my daughter, she knew straight away, Keith was her number one favorite member of the 2002 UK TV constructed boy band “One True Voice” And so yes, the puzzle solved! I’m sure ‘Keith’ will be relieved that nothing more of ‘OTV’ will be mentioned here.
Moving on almost twenty years and across the Atlantic to Chicago another kind of band construction had taken place. In fact an assemblage of talented musicians from the Chicago area to form, from scratch, a top notch quality band of progressive rock persuasion with an immensely energetic percussive section, a classically trained keyboardist and spearheaded by classy lead guitarist with immense vocal skills. All in all resulting in a superbly balanced robust band in every department, with masses of songwriting talent and instrumentally strong enough to relay their ideas directly to the recording studio. (No additional studio musicans drafted in)
With ten tracks extending in time to over three quarters of an hour it is indeed a comprehensive project full of tuneful, hard driving modern guitar arrangements interspersed with a refined balance of both atmospheric and very subtle keyboard embellishments. The vigorous and totally energetic time keeping department, with a slight hint of a military feel? Is incredibly busy throughout with an immense ability to accomplish the multitudes of various time signatures involved. The fluidity of the bass guitar and the resultant sounds emanating into the mix are totally intriguing and are a joy to follow as they ebb and flow throughout. Such clever combinations of lead guitar, exacting bass lines and clever keyboard phrases are not immediately apparent but certainly the impact due to the fusion of the various instruments develops more to the fore with subsequent plays. It is then you realise how superbly well the song writing arrangements have been assembled together and crafted. In fact all of the instrumental combinations have been superbly assimilated into the main body of the music resulting in an album of great depth, extreme flamboyance and saturated with style.
This is such a cool band, full of great concepts and brimming with brilliant ideas that all become revealed when listening to the colossal amount musical output integrated into this ten track album. The makeup appertaining to the music on each individual track is so wide-ranging in terms of ideas, instrumental input and vocal arrangements. Even the sub-divisions formed by the deft time changes within the individual tracks are unique without noticeable repetition. The key to this musical multiplicity is the interaction developed by the band and which is clearly the results of much practice and team work between the musicians. The keyboards not only deliver some wonderful fills, lovely piano sequences and soundscapes galore but also provide a solid platform from which the lead and bass guitars can resonate steadfastly together deploying the majority of the principal melody lines. It is pleasing too that there is not an overabundance of metallic riffing, everything is well balanced and in place with a preponderance of well-considered melodic music being the main intention and always at the forefront of the individual scores. There is some semblance to ‘Porcupine Tree’, ‘Spoks Beard’ and ‘The Flower Kings’ but generally they present a fresh new exciting song based modern progressive rock sound. One things for sure they are a tight knit unit and you can sense that they are thoroughly enjoying working together.
The excellent lead vocals from ‘Keith Semple’ are especially engaging full of melodic charm and are delivered with superb intonation and are wonderfully expressive all backed up with superb support vocal harmony lines too The lyrical content is certainly different, integrating many interesting conceptual ideas, check out ‘Alice in Afterland’.
Summary: An interesting well-constructed album full of excellent modern progressive rock music and which is delivered in dynamic fashion. A band that will surely achieve international recognition
Artwork: Precise and technical.
Keith Semple - Vocals, Guitar
Frank Lucas - Keys
Tommy Murray - Drums
Brian Kovacs - Bass guitar, Vocals
1. Alice In Afterland
2. Cool Kids
3. The Fall
4. Don’t Blink
5. 2020 Visionary
6. The Historian
7. My Occupation
9. Brain In A Vat