Billy Sherwood -
Citizen: In The Next Life

(CD 2019, 51:49, Frontiers Records FR CD 962)

The tracks:
  1- The Partisan(4:03)
  2- Sophia(5:09)
  3- Monet(3:34)
  4- Skywriter(5:01)
  5- We Shall Ride Again(4:49)
  6- Via Hawking(5:19)
  7- By Design(4:29)
  8- Sailing the Seas(5:43)
  9- Mata Hari(4:36)
10- Hold Quite(9:06)
11- Amazing Grace (Bonus Track)(2:54)

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Billy Sherwood is without any doubt a very talented multi-instrumentalist, producer, sound engineer and composer. Many know him from his recent work with Yes and Asia and his own bands World Trade and Circa:. But if that's not enough he has also been working on a solo career for many years. So, you might think one day he will have nothing new to come up with music wise. Believe me, the well still isn't dry because you can look out for another solo effort titled; Citizen: In The Next Life.

Citizen: In The Next Life is a conceptual continuation of the 2015album Citizen. Like its predecessor, Citizen: In The Next Life is a concept album about a lost soul, the Citizen who wanders through history, slipping into significant and less important personalities, and living through many lifetimes in historical periods. The personalities in question this time are, among others, the robot Sophia, Claude Monet, Christopher Columbus, Wyatt Earp, Stephen Hawking and Mata Hari.

This album goes down as a typical Billy Sherwood product. The American not only took over all the instruments and vocals but the song writing and the production too. In terms of content the songs range from the stylistic typical intersection between AOR, melodic rock and symphonic rock. Unfortunately, this album does not really get going for long stretches or epic pieces. It's definitely perfectly produced, well crafted, and Sherwood recommends using headphones when listening. Of the musical content, the songs are all pleasant to listen to and never last too long. Therefore, most of the tracks are certainly very radio friendly and easy to digest. However, it doesn't mean they are not enjoyable. On the contrary. There is enough to enjoy music wise. A piece such as Sailing The Seas is a recommended listen. Most of all the synthesizer solo is very awesome! Songs like this one come close to what you can find on the excellent debut album made by World Trade.

All in all, is this without a doubt a very good release for lovers of progressive rock in general. Most of all those who like it not too complex and without bombastic musical parts and without lots of different time signatures. Most of all recommended to all fans of Billy Sherwood out there. Because the album has his signature all over it!

*** Henri Strik (edited by Dave Smith)

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