The German six-piece Poor Genetic Material consist of Phil Griffiths (vocals), Stefan Glomb (guitar), Philipp Jaehne, (keyboards), Pia Darmstaedter (flute), Dennis Sturm (bass) and Dominik Steinbacher (drums). Just as on their previous record Island Noises (2011, see review) they asked Phil's father Martin Griffiths to guest on vocals on two tracks. He was the singer of the legendary British band Beggars Opera. The music is arranged and produced by all band members, but the lyrics have been written by Glomb and Griffiths. For the tenth (!) studio album A Day In June, they were inspired by Ulysses, a famous book written by the Irish author James Joyce. I'll try to give you an idea how the individual songs of this concept album sound.
Martello Morning starts with an instrumental intro sounding like the waves on the sea shores supported by pounding drums. After three minutes the music changes into an up-tempo piece with the excellent voice of Phil Griffiths. Halfway there's a fine electric guitar solo in the vein of Steve Rothery ( Marillion) and a romantic flute solo played by Darmstaedter. As far as I'm concerned this nine-minute piece is one of the highlights of this great album. Wisdom And Menace sounds a bit easier. It's more pop music than symphonic or progressive rock. It reminds me of the legendary British art rock band 10CC with its intelligent and catchy singles. The next song Bloom is very catchy as well. It's typical British pop with an easy chorus like Lloyd Cole And The Commotions made in the early eighties.
In Wandering Rocks the spirit of the early Moody Blues, era Days Of Future Passed (1967), can be heard. All band members doing an excellent job during this fascinating song. Nausicaa contains some beautiful piano parts, a synth solo from Griffiths and a bluesy guitar solo. Ithaca, the second nine-minute song is again a great example of the craftsmanship of this band. Howling guitar sounds accompany the fascinating lyrics. After a few minutes the piano, synths and drums all play a fantastic theme. Finally you can enjoy a jazzy but classic rock guitar solo to complete this highlight of A Day In June. The last song Yes is an instrumental which, in my opinion, completes this CD to become one of the best concept albums of 2013.
I think A Day In June belongs to the finest records of this rather poor musical prog year. It's in any case the best album Poor Genetic Material ever recorded. If you decide to give this album a try, please listen to it in its entirety to get the best idea of what this band is all about. They really deserve it!
****+ Cor Smeets (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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