The Dutch multi-instrumentalist Christiaan Bruin has already recorded Excavations Of The Mind (2010, see review) and A Dying Man's Hymn (2011, see review) with his band Sky Architect. However, he also recorded two solo albums under his abbreviated first name Chris, namely A Glimpse Inside (2009, see review) and Making Sense (2010, see review), so he has been rather busy in recent years. You might think that after recording so much music in such a short period of time may be at the expense of his musical creativity. Well, this isn't the case at all because in 2012 he already released his third solo effort City Of Light.
Many musicians who release solo albums fall into the trap of recording the same kind of music again and again, but that didn't happen to Chris. Maybe he's aware of this trap or maybe he has many musical faces. I think the latter is true since he's a highly talented multi-instrumentalist, singer and composer. On his third solo album you'll discover another side of his musical preferences. On his debut album A Glimpse Inside the influences from The Beatles and The Beach Boys were evident mixed with his own vision of how progressive rock should be performed. On the follow-up Making Sense he succeeded in blending influences of bands from the seventies and eighties like Genesis, Yes, IQ and Marillion, with his own way of writing progressive rock.
On City Of Light he managed to create a more contemporary rock sound made by the current bands in the rock scene. This post prog sound fits very well in his music since I could hardly notice any weak track on this CD. All six tracks have a rather unpolished rock sound mainly caused by a different way of singing compared to the previous two albums. This time Chris sings mostly rather aggressively close to screaming and often very distorted. I must say that it suits him well. However, occasionally I got the feeling that he sings this way too often, but thanks to the fact that he included many early Genesis influences, he kept me focussed all the time. These influences also make sure that true prog heads will enjoy this album as well. By playing beautiful guitar solos and using bombastic Mellotron samples, Chris showed that the old school prog rock from the seventies is still flowing through his veins.
A big hand for Chris who shows on City Of Light that progressive rock music has many different faces. Once again he recorded a solo album that I liked throughout. He may certainly be proud of this third solo effort. Yet I wonder how his fourth solo record will sound. Does he have even more musical faces than he already showed? Only time will tell!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2013