Hans-Jürgen Fuchs, a multi-instrumentalist and producer from Stuttgart, Germany, has been involved in many different musical projects. In 2012 he recorded Leaving Home (see review), a concept album containing a lot of musical styles of the seventies (Peter Gabriel), the eighties (Simple Minds, U2, Martin Ansell) and the nineties (the late Kevin Gilbert).
The Unity Of Two, the new album by Fuchs, is again a progressive rock concept album, this time telling the story of Aaron and Ray. Just like the book Narziss Und Goldmund, two characters from a book by the German author Herman Hesse, this story pulls at your heartstrings. It's dealing with friendship, devotion, the many layers of the human soul and different ways of life. The album mainly follows the life of Aaron, who's going out into the wide world while his friend Ray is staying at home. Later in life, both friends meet again realizing the things they have in common. It turns out that even though Aaron and Ray followed two completely different ways of life, they both have experienced true happiness and inspiration. This is called 'the unity of two.'
In musical terms Fuchs has created his second album in a definitely more open and more varied style than on his debut album Leaving Home. The music has been influenced again by forty years of prog rock. If you would like a comparison: it reminds me of the Genesis album And Then There Were Three (1978), but then with Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins and Kevin Gilbert doing the vocals. The line-up of the record is almost similar to the first one. Again, Fuchs has gathered a lot of experienced Stuttgart based musicians. He could for instance dispose of drummer and engineer Florian Dittrich of the Ludwigsburg Film Academy. Andy Bartzik is, together with Fuchs, responsible for all guitar parts, with Bartzik performing almost all beautiful solo parts on The Unity Of Two.
Again Fuchs put a lot of effort in this project. Personally I liked Leaving Home better, because it contained more catchy passages and it sounded somewhat heavier. But maybe that's a matter of taste and time. Eventually this is a very good album! In my review of Leaving Home I finished with the words: "maybe Fuchs had to write and sing the story in German; it's probably a lot easier to find the appropriate words to express such an inheritance. Moreover, Fuchs would have avoided my closing question then: why is it impossible for German singers to sing in English without an accent?" And again these are my two remarks, so I challenge you, Hans-Jürgen Fuchs!
*** Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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