The Polish Neo-prog formation Quidam (derived from a poem, means in Latin “somebody”) was founded in 1991 as Deep River, renamed Quidam in 1993 and disbanded in 2014. In between Quidam released only 7 studio-albums, their eponymous debut album from 1996 is still considered as their best effort. In order to celebrate the 25th anniversary of this debut album the band has produced a CD re-release in 2021. I have seen Quidam on several prog festivals: 1997 in Uden, 2006 in Paris and 2009 in De Boerderij, Each time Quidam was embraced by the crowd, showing a huge appreciation for their very pleasant and melodic Neo-prog sound. So “nostalgia rules”, I am in the mood to listen to the reissue of this first and highly acclaimed debut album, it has been a while ago that Quidam was in my CD player, to be honest.
On this debut album Quidam is scouting the borders between Neo-prog, symphonic rock and folk (like in Bajkowy featuring cheerful tin-whistle), evoking Seventies and Eighties bands like early Genesis (especially the Steve Hackett guitar sound), Camel, Renaissance, Pink Floyd (The Great Gig In The Sky-like vocal eruption in Nocne Widziadla) and Marillion (Gleboka Rzeka and Plone). The focus in the very melodic and harmonic songs is on pleasant female vocals (between dreamy and powerful) in the native language, and the electric guitar, lots of moving soli with howling runs. The music is embellished with flute, hobo, piano and synthesizers, a pleasant variety.
My absolute highlight is the first track entitled Sanktuarium (close to 9 minutes). The bombastic intro contains a majestic church organ sound and howling guitar runs, wow, goose bumps! Then a mellow climate with dreamy female Polish vocals, blended with a hobo, gradually turning into a slow rhythm and an intense atmosphere with powerful emotional vocals. Back to mellow with volume pedal electric guitar, cello and flute. In the second part first a melancholy cello solo and then a long and moving guitar solo (strongly reminding me of Steve Hackett in early Genesis), topped with inspired female vocals. Wonderful!
As a bonustrack Quidam have added a 2021 version, it sounds a bit more lush and compelling, the intro features the distinctive Hammond organ, a strong conclusion.
***+ Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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