Also Eden - [REDACTED]

(CD 2013, 48:01, Festival Music 201311)

The tracks:
  1- Red River
  2- Endless Silence
  3- Distortion Field
  4- A Lonely Idea
  5- Chronologic
  6- The Test
  7- Extend & Embrace
  8- Decoded

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The British prog outfit Also Eden recorded the EP Differences As Light (see review) in 2010. Compared to their two previous albums About Time (2006, see review) and It's Kind Of You To Ask (2008, see review), it appeared that the music of the band had changed into a new and less complicated musical direction. This also applied to their third full-fledged album Think Of The Children! (2011, see review). We could also notice such a change of direction with bands like Sylvan and Marillion, although the new musical style could still be labelled as neo-prog, but meant to be appreciated by a larger audience.

I think this change of style was the main reason why some musicians left Also Eden and others joined in. This resulted in the current line-up of Rich Harding (lead and backing vocals), Howard Sinclair (keyboards, lap steel guitar), Si Rogers (guitars, backing vocals), Graham Lane (bass, bass pedals), Lee Nicholas (drums, percussion) and Andy Davies (additional keyboards). This line-up was responsible for the band's latest release [REDACTED]. After listening to the new album I generally got the same overall feel as when I listened to Think Of The Children! for the first time. This album needed a number of spins in my CD player before I could fully enjoy its beauty. Therefore I forced myself to play [REDACTED] several times before writing this review. And just like the previous album the new one started to grow on me and finally got me by the throat!

This atmospheric album starts with the sound of cars driving on a highway. Right from the start I was aware of the fact that this is a concept album dealing with the aftermath of a devastating traffic accident, which happened to lead singer Rich Harding years ago while riding on a motorbike. The aggressively sounding guitars after the intro indicate that the accident turned the victim's life completely upside down. Such an accident is of great significance on someone's personal life. When the music changes into a mellower mood, with beautiful keyboard parts and some relaxing parts on the acoustic guitars, it gives room for seeing things in a different perspective. In many ways the album provides a meditation on life's survival which is positively Zen in its organic approach.

The music that comes along with this concept sometimes reminded me of Pink Floyd. On the one hand because of the melodic guitar parts performed by Si Rogers in the vein of Dave Gilmour; on the other hand because of the soundscapes and spoken words − by Jane Setter (Crimson Sky) - which show clear similarities with Pink Floyd. However, sometimes a band as Twelfth Night on their former albums crossed my mind. There's one thing that you should keep in mind when you play [REDACTED]. You have to play it in its entirety from the opening track Red River until Decoded. What's the point of playing only two or three tracks if the album contains eight tracks? You can neither read two or three chapters from a book to understand what's it all about, can you?

Hopefully Also Eden will soon visit the European continent to perform the story of [REDACTED] in front of a live audience. I'm very curious to see how they perform this wonderful album on a stage. For the time being I will again press the play button instead!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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