The Welsh band Panic Room was formed in 2007 by former members of Karnataka, a band I already discovered at an early stage in their career. When I think of the time they disbanded, I still get tears in my eyes because that happened at a moment they were at their best. But life goes on and we all have to deal with disappointments. However, for that reason I have a soft spot for Panic Room! Karnataka reunited in a completely different line-up and continued making excellent albums. At the same time Panic Room built up a strong following as well after recording their debut album Visionary Position (2008). This fine CD was followed by Satellite (2010, see review) and Skin (2012, see review). Recently Incarnate, the fourth album appeared.
Despite the sudden departure of the band's original guitarist and co-founding member Paul Davies, the music on the latest release hasn't changed at all compared to the compositions on previous albums. I think that could be expected because all of the band's songs have been mainly written by Jonathan Edwards (keyboards) and Anne Marie Helder (vocals, flute, guitars, keyboards). Apparently these two band members are in control. Together with Gavin Griffiths (drums), Yatim Halimi (bass), Adam O'Sullivan (guitars) they once again recorded an album that consists of a mixture of progressive rock songs and pop tunes to sing along with or to dance to. These songs are not that complex and easy to remember once you've heard them.
If you're into prog with lots of strong instrumental parts, extended guitar or keyboard solos and many breaks, these songs are probably not your cup of tea. However, the music that Panic Room have recorded on Incarnate is good enough for me. Listen for example to strong pieces like Start The Sound having classical influences next to superb fretless bass parts, or Waterfall which has an intro that sounds like Dreamer by Supertramp, or the atmospheric Into Temptation, which contains excellent guitar and keyboard parts. I think you'll agree that these songs have a lot to offer. Furthermore the beautiful voice of Anne Marie Helder shines throughout the album just as Jonathan Edwards' excellent acoustic and electric piano parts. This could also be heard on their great album Sleeping Pills & Lullabies (2013, see review) which they made under the name of Luna Rossa.
If you like your daily prog not that complex then the sixty minutes of music on Incarnate are certainly worthwhile. This album is above all recommended to those who also like the music of bands like Mostly Autumn, Breathing Space, Mermaid Kiss and The Reasoning.
*** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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