My presence at the performance of Pär Lindh in Mexico at the Baja Prog Festival 2002 will always remain a warm memory. Watching this Swedish musician playing live on his keyboards and drums belongs to one of my musical highlights. Together with the American Kopecky-brothers he kicked ass at the time. His friendship with William Kopecky has remained since then resulting in the live albums Live In Iceland (2002) and In Concert, Live In Poland (2008). On the first one you can enjoy Magdalena Hagberg - or Berg after her marriage - on vocals, violin and keyboards. She sadly passed away from cancer in 2007. This painful event had a great impact on Pär Lindh and the other musicians. That may be the reason why a new studio album from Pär Lindh Project was put on hold for several years. Only the aforementioned live albums and the DVD shot at the concert in Poland (see review) saw the light of day. However, in 2010 PLP finally released the new studio album Time Mirror.
The new album contains four pieces that are worth-while listening. They are recorded in a style that made Pär Lindh one of the best keyboardists on the planet. However, the many influences of Keith Emerson remained, but I'm not complaining since I love it all very much! On the first track you'll hear Emerson in full glory: Pär Lindh entertains with some fine honky-tonk piano playing just like Mr. Emerson did on many albums. But also the Hammond-organ and the synthesizers sound familiar. The synth sounds certainly have some hints of Peter Gunn by ELP. Not only Mr. Lindh's keyboards are leading on this album; William Kopecky's bass guitar has a prominent role as well. He's a master on his instrument which he shows on most of the other tracks with the help of drummer Svetlan Raket. Also Bo-Inge Svensson appears in the spotlight by playing a nice trumpet solo. Violinist Anders Lagerqvist adds some gypsy elements to the music by the way he's playing the violin. The title track isn't completely instrumental. Al Lewis is a great singer and his voice resembles that of Jon Anderson. On the second track Waltz Street Pär Lindh handles the drum sticks like a professional drummer, but you also hear him doing some honky-tonk stuff on the piano. Together with the gypsy-like violin this sounds perfectly.
With Death Unreconciled contains some very impressive parts performed on a church organ with some hints of Rick Wakeman. That also applies for the synthesizer and piano parts. The violin parts by Lagerqvist takes the music back to the time that Magdalena Hagberg was still part of the band. This was intentionally done since this song has been dedicated to this fine musician. We also hear Al Lewis doing not only the lead vocals, but also some perfect drumming. The final track is the only instrumental piece on Time Mirror. Sky Door can be described as a happy tune on which Lindh and Kopecky get all the room to show their talents. This time Stefan Bergman is playing the drums.
Sky Door ends the album with a happy feeling. That's a good thing because the last couple of years Pär Lindh suffered too much sad events in his life. Hopefully he can pick up his life as it was before those tragical events occurred. With Time Mirror the first steps have been made to bring PLP back on track and in the hearts of people who fancy prog rock. This album is especially recommended to people who enjoy the music of Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Yes. I think they'll cherish this album very much just as I did.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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