After a hiatus of four years the Polish progressive rock band Retrospective return with a brand new album on a new record label. Lost In Perception saw the light of day after the band were recently added to the Progressive Promotion Records family and I think this record label made a good choice by signing up this band. Retrospective recorded an EP in 2007 followed by their debut Stolen Thoughts (2008). In the past four years there have been no changes in the line-up and so they still consist of vocalist Jakub Roszak, keyboardist and second singer Beata Łagoda, guitarists Maciej Klimek and Alan Szczepaniak, bass player Łukasz Marszałek and drummer Robert Kusik.
Lost In Perception contains progressive rock in the best Riverside tradition with a mixture of prog metal, alternative and space rock elements. The End Of The Winter Lethargy, the opening track of the album, immediately shows what these musicians are capable of. Jakub Roszak's vocals really stand out and have the intensity of Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam), but also Marco Gluhmann (Sylvan) comes to mind. At some points, if you dig a bit deeper, you'll hear some similarities with the old blues rock legend Jack Bruce. This first track is a nice prog rock song with some spacy keyboards, smooth alternative sounding guitars and bass lines, and prominent yet never too prominent drums. Huge Black Hole combines fine retro keyboard sounds with a more modern guitar sound. I guess Sylvan has been influential here, although the great guitar sounds in the background provide this piece an identity of its own.
While listening to Egoist I realize how great the impact of the keyboards is in the band's overall sound! In this composition the pace is minimalized thus creating a relaxed atmosphere. Once again Roszak's emotional vocals are outstanding adding a Porcupine Tree touch to the song. Lunch also has those retro underlying keyboards, but the smooth guitar play, reminding me of Pink Floyd and Marillion, deserves all the credits especially during the long introduction. When the vocals join you can enjoy the perfect combination of Roszak's voice and Łagoda's hoarser vocals. While using this combination of voices, the similarities of the aforementioned bands have almost disappeared thus creating a sound of their own. The same style can be found on Our Story Is Beginning Now with female vocals that add something special to the sound. Where a slight accent can be heard in the vocal male parts, the female singing seems without an accent, although the Polish accent of Jakub Roszak has its charm.
Tomorrow Will Change brings back Pearl Jam and Sylvan together with the spacy sounds from the keyboards. Musical Land starts lighter than the previous songs with a drum and bass part leading to a higher-pitched vocal line. The smooth guitar play is just the icing on the cake. I think this is the most accessible song of the album; a simple repeating pattern makes sure that most people will like it. It also contains a fine bass part and a nice guitar outro. During Ocean Of A Little Thoughts the vocals are nicely doubled and again I'm amazed because this singing gives me shivers down my spine in a very positive way. On the one hand I wonder why they don't use Beata Łagoda's voice on all songs, but on the other hand using her vocals only in a limited number of songs just makes her addition very special. While listening to these two vocalists I actually missed an impressive guitar solo.
The final chapter of the album is Swallow The Green Tones, a song that lasts over ten minutes. Right from the start you'll hear music related to Pink Floyd that evolves to music influenced by Sylvan, and finally reaching a sound of its own. Besides impressive guitar parts, this nice and long epic features the two vocalists again. To me it's definitely the highlight of Lost In Perception. The song perfectly builds up from a mellow to a more metal-like side of their music. Towards the end the volume goes up which is a bit in the vein of Porcupine Tree.
I think Retrospective have recorded a great album that grew on me every time I listened to it. The twin vocals sound brilliant and the smooth guitar parts add something special to this album. Hopefully we don't have to wait another four years for a successor to Lost In Perception.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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