Pymlico - Directions

(CD 2012, 56:14, Spider House Records SHRCD003)

The tracks:
  1- Compliments Of Sharkey(5:00)
  2- Heroes(14:01)
  3- The Little Grey Cells(6:11)
  4- R.W.(6:24)
  5- 2280(6:35)
  6- Regulus(18:11)

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It wasn't difficult for me to conclude that Arild BrÝter alias Pymlico succeeded in recording a great debut album with Inspirations (2011, see review). This album contained strong influences from the seventies and reminded me of albums recorded by Steve Hackett, Camel, Genesis, Focus, Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Kaipa, but also The Flower Kings crossed my mind while listening to all those beautiful compositions. Moreover, he showed to be a very gifted musician who's able to write outstanding instrumental prog rock tunes. After releasing his debut, BrÝter told me that he already started to work on a follow-up. Well, recently he has sent me a new album called Directions.

Of course I was very curious to find out whether he had continued to write strong progressive rock songs related to the music of the seventies or not. However, while listening to the first seconds of the opening song Compliments Of Sharkey, he put me on the wrong track. This piece starts in a rather modern way including some heavy guitar riffs, but as the song continues it becomes clear that he hadn't distanced himself from the above-mentioned major influences. This becomes evident after the second track, the fourteen-minute piece Heroes.  On this track all the elements that already could be heard on his debut are revealed once more: Steve Hackett meets Genesis and Camel meet Kaipa. I even heard traces of the Dutch progressive rock band Knight Area: sometimes rather speedy and at other times mellower. This time elements of King Crimson's music can be heard on The Little Grey Cells.

In the next song R.W. Pymlico's love for bands as Focus, Pink Floyd and Camel emerges, while 2280 again starts rather contemporary by using a modern synthesizer sound, but when the electric guitars take over they mostly dominate this track. Every now and then Pink Floyd pops up reminding me of their instrumental track On The Run. The final piece on Directions lasts for eighteen minutes and has been strongly influenced by the music of The Flower Kings; both their melodic and experimental side can be heard. However, also the early King Crimson influences are present by using a distorted saxophone sound like the one you can hear on their well-known piece 21st Century Schizoid Man.

Once more I have to compliment Arild BrÝter with his second Pymlico album. He succeeded again in entertaining me throughout the album with his high-levelled compositions containing more than enough room for melody and amazing instrumental passages. BrÝter proves to be an excellent songwriter, a good producer and above all a great musician on keyboards, drums and acoustic guitar. I would also like to compliment those who assisted him on bass, guitar, saxophone, piano, flute and additional keyboards since Directions certainly isn't a one-man show.

Just like Inspirations this new album is e specially recorded for all retro prog heads out there, although the album's title may suggest the opposite. Pymlico's second album is just like his debut highly recommended to people who enjoy the albums recorded by all the above-mentioned names.

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

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