Meeting Point is already the fourth album released by the Norwegian act Pymlico. Pymlico is the brainchild of Arild BrÝter, a rather young musician who plays drums, keyboards and acoustic guitar. Unlike its predecessors, Inspirations (2011, see review), Directions (2012, see review) and Guiding Light (2014, see review) this new album is not a musical project of Arild. This time around he presents this new album with a band.
Whilst recording his former albums from a one-man project perspective, the multi-instrumentalist has now developed a well-established equal rights collective. Included are Arild's brother Oyvind BrÝter at the keys as well as guitarist Stephan Hvinden. Bassist Axel Toreg Reite and saxophonist and piano player Marie Faerevaag complete the line up. This new line up certainly had some effects on the music which you can hear on Meeting Point. A change of musical direction can be heard. Although this is minimal compared to what was presented on the first three releases. Then it was mainly retro progressive rock with influence taken from acts such as Steve Hackett, Camel, Genesis, Focus, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Kaipa and The Flower Kings. Sure the progressive rock sound can still be heard. For me personally only on the final track of the album, titled Erised, a bit of old style with influences of the aforementioned. To be honest the new style was evident on the earlier releases but not as much to the surface as on this new album. What you can hear now is most of all the influences taken from fusion and jazz rock mixed with the style Arild started with. Only not so much retro prog is mixed with these new musical styles. Getting new musical elements into the compositions certainly brings new names of possible influences to the table. Names like Toto, Solution, Pat Metheny, Spyro Gyra, Steps Ahead, Snarky Puppy, Level 42, Yellowjackets and Mezzoforte came to mind several times. Most of all thanks to the use of a saxophone by Marie and several guest musicians, who also played on the trumpet and trombone, the fusion and jazz rock style is incorporated in the compositions throughout the entire album.
Does this change of musical style mean the album is less interesting for those who already are familiar with the music of Pymlico or for lovers of progressive rock music? Well I certainly don't think so! The same strong instrumental music can be heard as on its predecessors. The melody is always up front and the solos performed on the electric guitars, keyboards and saxophones makes sure enough variety is present from start till finish.
Therefore once again I can be very positive about a new release presented by this wonderful Norwegian act named Pymlico. All I can say about Meeting Point is highly recommended to lovers of progressive rock who are also into fusion and jazz rock!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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