Silent Chambers you might say, never heard of them. Ok, wait a minute, let's go back in time a few years. Remember the Dutch band The Dust Connection, who released the album Trails back in 2009 (2009, see review), an album that was highly regarded. Many years later two of the TDC members joined forces to create new music, only this time the outcome would be something very different from things done in the past. But being just two musicians in need for musical support, who are the ones, most obvious to ask to join? Right, your buddies from TDC. Therefore, Thousand Victories is recorded by vocalist Jeroen Voogd, pianist and keyboard player Sander Heerings, guitarist, bass player, mandolin player and second vocalist Martijn Balsters and percussionist Robert Spaninks. Additional help came from tin whistle and accordion player Erik de Jong and vocalists Ronald Martens and Dré van den Bosch.
Let me start with saying, Thousand Victories doesn't hold any electric guitars, also the rhythm parts are performed with percussion only, no drum kit is abused while recording the album, making the album an intense, acoustically driven album with amazing vocals. And that is what stands out, I knew Jeroen was and is an amazing vocalist and Trails proved me right. But his performance on this album goes beyond my dreams and wishes, the folky, singer songwriter, emotional songs are perfectly suited for his voice. Listen to Growing Pains, where acoustic guitar, subtle piano and delicate background vocals lift his vocals to another level. Or try You Again, a powerful track, driven by a mean tambourine, showing Martijn's gentle melodies on the electric guitar, backing up, again, wonderful vocals parts. Tin whistles and mandolins give the album a smooth folky feel, but on the other hand the songs are fragile personal statements from the band, brought in a wonderful acoustic way. One of the absolute highlights is Little Man, loaded with mandolin and accordion parts, an amazing intense composition. The album even holds a kind of a ”drinking” song; This Day, where everybody can participate, a great song to play at your favourite bar. For the song Posthumous, the opening guitar parts have some similarities with a song of the Dutch band Klein Orkest, Over De Muur, later in the same song some parts remind me of Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill. Those resemblances don't really bother, just because of the way this song is brilliant on its own.
I was warned in the first place, not to expect anything like The Dust Connection and indeed with an open mind I started listening to Silent Chambers. It turns out to be an excellent album, filled with inspired, intelligent compositions. Thousand Victories should be consumed the best with a nice glass of wine. Fireplace optional, doors locked, so you won't be disturbed.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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