What music would you get if Kate Bush joins Spock's Beard or The Flower Kings as their female lead singer? Well, the answer isn't that difficult at all, because the result can be heard on As Far As The Eye Can See, the latest album recorded by the Ukrainian prog band Sunchild. This band led by Antony Kalugin (keyboards, vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion) delivered with this new album maybe their best effort so far. After recording strong albums like The Gnomon (2008), The Invisible Line (2009) and The Wrap (2010) (see review), this time the band reached an even higher quality level. Together with his fellow-musicians Andrey Kobylyanskiy (electric, acoustic and nylon guitars), Oleg Prokhorov (bass), Sergey Kovalev (bayan, vocals), Vanya Rubanchyuk (drums), Olya Chernova (vocals) and Victoria Osmachko (vocals) and some guest musicians, Antony Kalugin recorded an excellent album that's really worthwhile listening to. All songs on As Far As The Eye Can See are of an outstanding quality.
The album opens with Stars Of Cardiff Bay that sets the high standard right from the start. This impressive composition starts as a kind of symphony orchestra and takes you on a fantastic musical journey lasting for fifteen minutes. Maybe Kalugin's vocals are not the best in the world, but his keyboard work is just outstanding throughout this piece. His excellent synthesizer and organ solos reminded me from time to time of Eddie Jobson's playing in U.K. However, Kalugin isn't the only musician who lifts this song to an excellent level. The alto saxophone solo done by Misha Sidorenko has to be mentioned as well and that also applies to Andrey Kobylyanskiy and special guest Roberto Diaz (Anima Mundi), who both deliver some excellent work on the electric guitars. Furthermore it's hard to deny that the marvellous vocals of Olya Chernova are a treat to the ears, especially if you like the way Kate Bush sings. The opening track Stars Of Cardiff Bay is just the tip of this musical iceberg. What follows underneath has the same high quality level.
Take for example second track Ring Of Eternity. It starts beautifully on the acoustic guitar. It's the opposite of the first track; the music is mellower with some occasional faster parts. Also Seven Kings is a rather mellow piece containing some fantastic guitar and synthesizer solos. Mirrors probably comes closest to the work of Kate Bush. It could have been taken from one of her earlier albums. March Of Fate is another highlight that strongly tends in the direction of the music from Camel due to the use of an oboe and the electric guitars. The album ends with the title track. It once again shows all the qualities these musicians have to offer. A fantastic guitar solo and bombastic keyboard parts end this song and the album. No slow fade-out this time, but rather abruptly the music stops.
However, even without a decent ending, Antony Kalugin and his band Sunchild still deliver a fantastic album. I would like to recommend As Far As The Eye Can See to people who appreciate the vocals of Kate Bush and the music made by bands as Spock's Beard, The Flower Kings, Camel or UK! Moreover, I would like to advise all devotees of neo-progressive rock to check out this release.
**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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