Sometimes you get to listen to an album, and you immediately know, a lot of your countrymen will absolutely love it. I guess Somewhere / Anywhere is one of those albums, that will be embraced by many Dutch listeners.
Formed sometime in 2010 Milky Way Gas Station rose out of the ashes of the band Kramer, who were looking for a new vocalist. Over the years, the band found its present form in vocalist and acoustic guitar player Rob Ijpelaan, guitarist Niels Hoppe and the Kramer rhythm section, bass player Jeroen Vriend and drummer Harald Veenker. Somewhere / Anywhere sees guest appearances of Opeth's Joakim Svalberg, Jeroen Baars and Jan Peter Bast on keyboards and the vocal additions of both Lana Wolf and Sanne Jonges.
Just to be clear, for those who read the name Opeth and might jump to the front of their seat, MWGS is in no way comparable with the Swedish masters, for their music sounds as typical Dutch neo progressive rock, in my opinion. Eight compositions are written, clocking seventy-three minutes. For one a blessing, for others,.. But I will stop nagging here. Somewhere / Anywhere is a real solid neo prog album, lots of guitar solos, keyboard solos and a real lot of lyrics. Guitarist Niels is a very talented musician, who easily plays the fine melodic solos on the album, but in a way the album seems to be a very keyboard orientated one. Nice stretched keyboard parts, melodic and spherical are the component that is the glue between the compositions. The aforementioned guitar solos are a very tasty icing. Sometimes the keyboard leads the songs into a psychedelic sphere; for me the parts where the album comes to life and gets my full attention. But the majority of the music is thorough, dead solid Dutch neoprog.
I have mentioned the word “Dutch” in combination with neoprog several time now, Dutch readers will know that the scene in Holland has that typical sound, I think founded in the late eighties or early nineties. Something you got to love. Too bad, I am not really a fan of this style. But that doesn't mean MWGS's music is bad, or poor quality. Musically they are amazing, strong compositions and for me fine escapades toward the psychedelic scene.
As I wrote, a lot of people who are fond of the Dutch Progressive rock scene will absolutely adore this album. And right they are, great songs, great musicians. I think an obligated buy, but not my personal cup of tea.
***+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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