In recent years, I heard many positive comments on the young Swedish prog trio Brother Ape. Thus, I was very pleased when the main editor of Background Magazine asked me to review Turbulence, their fourth and latest album. Brother Ape is influenced by traditional symfo bands like Genesis, Saga and Yes, but also by jazz rock groups as Weather Report and Brand X. Sometimes they sound tuneful; then they change to rather complex progressive rock.
The first track Welcome Future is a good example of their musical skills. It’s a vigorous up-tempo track with a fine guitar solo in the middle section. Footprints starts very jazzy, singer and guitarist Stefan Damicolas is well accompanied by Gunner Maxén on bass guitars and keyboards, and Max Bergman on drums. This track sometimes reminded me of early Rush. After these two adventurous up-tempo songs, we get the slow ballad No More, with piano, synths and rather strange vocals. Heavy bass beats and fine vocals with several melodic guitar solos are the main ingredients of Who Will Be Next, while Early is just a short acoustic guitar interlude. Turbulence and No Return are again nice songs. You can hear a homogenous collective with mellow voices, but also several heavy guitar solos. Besides, the epic No Return has a relaxing and spacey sound. Autostrada is the strangest track on this album, best described as ‘weird synthesizer sounds with a Stuart Copeland (The Police) drum technique’. The final track Life Prints contains all the musical elements of the previous songs.
Turbulence is just a fine album, no more, no less. It’s certainly no masterpiece, but the songs are varied enough to keep my attention throughout the album. I would recommend Brother Ape to all lovers of the more adventurous prog rock music.
*** Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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