Red Sand - Music For Sharks

(CD 2009, 53:07, SPBN 004)

The tracks:
  1- Empty Calendar(08:42)
  2- Love And Music(10:11)
  3- How Can You Help Me(06:26)
  4- Sad Song(07:52)
  5- Shark Man(16:14)
  6- All You Need Is Love(03:40)

Red Sand Website        samples       

Canadian quartet Red Sand previous released a DVD entitled Au Cabaret Du Liquor Store. I was very pleased with their performance on stage and often carried away by the compelling parts, loaded with howling guitar solos and majestic waves of mellotron violins. The early Marillion hints were obvious.

Their new album Music For Sharks is a cynical concept about the music industry, a subject that always lent itself successfully to sublimate ones anger into music. Remember Fish. Red Sand still sounds like early Marillion due to the wonderful and moving guitar work in the vein of Steve Rothery, but the musical direction has slightly moved towards modern Pendragon. Singer Mathieu Lessard has a voice that sounds similar to the voice of Nick Barrett, that is, with the same melancholic undertone. Compared with their previous studio-album Human Trafficking, I notice to my delight a more omnipresent role for the keyboards. Especially the unsurpassed mellotron sound can be enjoyed in its full splendour in most of the six alternating tracks. The songs have been structured with emotional guitar playing by Simon Caron, who plays many outstanding solos with the use of the tremolo-arm. Mathieu Gosselins keyboard playing is very exciting: church organ in Empty Calendar, a flashy synthesizer solo and lush mellotron in Love And Music and floating keyboards in Sad Song. However, the highlight on this album is the 15-minutes long epic composition Shark Man. It starts with angry vocals in a bombastic atmosphere with tight drumming. Then the atmospheres change ranging from dreamy with piano and warm vocals, to mid-tempo with sensational work on keyboards and guitar, culminating in an impressive build-up and a grand finale with a sensitive electric guitar solo, accompanied by lush mellotron and synthesizers. Man, this is prog heaven! In my opinion Red Sand has made their most mature and varied album so far. Highly recommended!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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