Look, it's a bird, it's a plane, no it's Superman. This was what first came to mind when I listened to Notice Grace's album Movements. Have I lost my mind? Sure, but it seemed to me this band's music is a bit of everything. Better; this could be something new. At least a new and unusual blend in my opinion.
Confusing? Okay, let me explain. Notice Grace claims to play progressive rock, but they have their feet dug in deep in southern rock. The vocals cannot hide the southern heritage of the band and that's nothing to be ashamed of. Also, several guitar parts would easily fit in Lynyrd Skynyrd type of bands; there is a nice rough and bluesy edge to their guitar sound. Hailing from the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, the band consists of vocalists and guitarists Zachery Kinsaul and Gib Heuett, vocalist, keyboard player and bassist Dennis Svella and finally, drummer Rick Lewis. On the album, Katie Svela contributed female vocals and Rick Kinsaul played some slide guitars.
Back to the music. Movements opens with a an instrumental Prelude; electric guitar melodies are combined with acoustic rhythms over a warm bed of keyboards, definitely a strong piece of instrumental progressive rock with melodic playing. The title track, Movements, that follows, strongly has it's foot in progressive rock and it seems parts of the melodies of the previous composition have been extended into this composition. Katie's wordless, yes, wordless! vocals create a dreamy atmosphere and the keyboards gently take you back to the seventies. When the vocals begin in a southern laid back style, the southern progressive style gets into shape, hints of bands like Kansas pass by, while the fine guitar solos bring back memories of Dickey Betts and The Allman Brothers Band. Continuing with Bleed, the band tilts over to a more mainstream classic rock style, with strong vocals and loads of guitar fills and solos. Occasional progressive elements return during Protect This Sacred State, especially during the instrumental intermezzo, where the bluesy guitars go hand in hand with progressive music. During this composition, the vocals are handled by a different vocalist than in the previous compositions, I notice the influence here of a band like Drivin' n' Cryin'. Avenger shows nice twin guitar parts; southern style. Vocalwise, the harmony vocals during Hard Times are very interesting and they perfectly fit to this “back in time” rock song, where the progressive elements are not easy to find. The nice slide solo does justice to the band's music. High-level classic rock, larded with southern rock and occasional progressive elements, finally brings you through Walk Away and Stop. Very well played and brought to you in a very tasteful way.
Movements basically is a very strong album. One foot settled in classic rock, the other foot firmly imbedded in the southern soil. Elements of progressive rock just give the compositions that special touch and the vocals are perfectly fitting in with the compositions. Recommended for long drives to concerts, and I guess radio stations should pick up this radio friendly and accessible music as well.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Esther Ladiges)
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