This year prog rock band No Name from Luxemburg exists twenty years. Therefore, I have to congratulate them for their perseverance. As far as I know, No Name is the only progressive rock band from Luxemburg. I got interested in their music in 1998 when I reviewed their CD-single Strange Decisions. A great track that proved that prog rock can also be released as a single record. This single had all neo-progressive elements that I love so much in the music of Pallas, Pendragon, IQ and early Marillion.
Their performance at the Progfarm Festival that same year in combination with the release of their third album The Other Side, showed No Name to be a very professional group of musicians. In my opinion, they could easily compete with all the above-mentioned bands. Although I found their fourth album - simply named 4 (2006) - a bit disappointing. Line-up changes and personal problems might have been the reason for it. Fortunately, their latest release 20 Candles shows that this band belongs to the premier league of progressive rock music. Well, maybe not to the top of that league, but certainly somewhere in the middle section. Although 20 Candles contains some new compositions, you can consider the album as a sort of ‘Best Of’ for their twentieth anniversary. The idea was to re-record old material that was no longer available, but also to include new material and live recordings. First Night and Uncompromising are the new pieces both written in the vein of their previous released material.
The cream of the crop on this anniversary album is the cooperation with some special guest musicians. The additional saxophone solo on Broken Heart by Fred Hormain and the bagpipes by Jonathan Tilly on Battlefield certainly add a new dimension to the music of No Name. All together, this results in a very solid album with 70 minutes of the finest progressive rock music. The re-recorded version of the above-mentioned CD-single proves that No Name have reinvented themselves and are full of new ideas. I enjoyed listening to 20 Candles a lot and asked myself several times why they never got a larger audience. They certainly deserve it. Just listen to fine songs as Battlefield, Mat Enger Tréin and Dolphins, Sharks And A Flood Of Sunshine. This is classic neo-prog in the vein of the bands mentioned above. If No Name releases more such songs in the future, they deserve to be recognized by all prog heads in general, but especially by neo-prog heads.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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