Colleague Henri Strik wrote the review of the debut album Mirrors of this Dutch band (see review). I quote him: 'Mirrors certainly is a debut that many bands can only dream of'. He compares the band with bands as Saga, Marillion, Pink Floyd, Eloy, IQ and Arena. Bands with a special state of service and of course great to be compared with. There were a few line-up changes the last couple of years. Singer Elias de Vries has been replaced by Henk Brugge, guitarist Peter Nanuru has been replaced by Richie Saimima and on drums Jeroen van Stenis has been replaced by Daniel Brans. The lineup still consists of the brothers Peter and Henk Zwerus on keys and Cynthio Ooms on bass. The big question is of course how Hangover Paradise sounds in 2017/2018.
The album opens with Who Do You Think You Are. Immediately you hear a little Jean Michel Jarre in the keyboard sound, which of course is not wrong at all. The guitar falls in and I hear a nice melody. Then we hear Henk Brugge sing for the first time, with such a nice Dutch accent in his voice, nothing wrong with that an so recognizable. Occasionally there is polyphonic singing. What is more striking is that there is room for everyone without sounding too full.
In Do Not Wake Me Up we hear a very sensitive, lingering guitar solo, a short keyboard fragment in the style of Supertramp and the singer occasionally sounds a bit like the singer of the German formation Jack Yello.
What Lies Beneath, the third song on the album I think is a great song, the intro is slow but it hits you. When Henk sings the words 'my demons of the past' wow, the way it takes you, done very well. There is a lot of space for the guitar, and you can leave that to Richie, who knows how his guitar works and leaves you stunned and struck.
In the title number is a so-called 'muscle ball passage', such a passage where there is room for solos of all instruments, nicely alternated and complementary, real powerhouse and by that I mean constructive, there is so much happening in this song, well done!
In Not Worried is a twin solo of keyboards and guitar, delightful. The song ends abruptly, nice for the change. Also in Wrong is a long, emotional guitar solo that connects nicely to the textual theme. It is exactly what the song needs. The guitar takes you to this high level in the song, the wow factor is high.
In Life Is Too Short there is a twin solo on the keyboards, here the brothers Zwerus complement each other nicely. The song is about alcohol abuse and at the end you hear the screams of the instruments: 'pick up your life, life is too short'!!! Nice role for vocalist Henk who gives this song an extra dimension.
Then the last track, Flowers In The Rain. There is another impressive guitar solo that is supported by the excellent rhythm section of Cynthio and Daniel. After about 2.30 minutes the guitar solo is answered by a keyboard solo. Even a duet between vocals and guitar arises when Henk sings the lines 'is there a way to turn the tide' in which he worries about the current time in which we live. Many solos in this song. Unfortunately, this was the last song of the album.
In conclusion I can say that this is a very, very good album which is very well balanced. There is room for everyone and the band members are well attuned to each other. In terms of the lyrics this is also an album that is well thought about and I love that. They really have something to say and the listener can start thinking of what the lyrics mean to them. I want to compliment all band members on the result achieved. I want to give guitarist Richie an extra compliment, what he plays is beautiful, fantastic! This band sets the bar for the third album very high, so I am very curious.
****+ Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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