Seconds Before Landing - II

(CD 2014, 59:31, SBL Music)

The tracks:
  1- Big Train(5:04)
  2- Hey Dad(5:40)
  3- Al Shaitan(6:09)
  4- My Perfect Girl(5:18)
  5- Etiene(6:08)
  6- The Great Deceiver(5:36)
  7- Don't Want to Feel This Way(5:50)
  8- Just Breathe(5:01)
  9- Silent Bird(5:35)
10- Enoch(5:52)
11- What Chu Do(3:29)

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Seconds Before Landing is the personal project of John Crispino - composer, singer, drummer and midi keyboard player. Personal, but not solo, because he does have a full blown band around him that helped him out on both his debut album The Great Deception and on this second album simply entitled II.

Before getting this album, I had heard of the band, but never listened to their music. The first track, the jazzy Big Train was a pleasant surprise, and made me want to hear more. Alas, that turned out to be a bit of a disappointment - apart from this track, the only track that did have a bit (and less than the aforementioned one) of jazz rock influence is Silent Bird. The rest of the album is mainly electronic, midi based music - despite the presence of the real instruments. Not exactly my kind of music, it tends to get repetitive and I prefer the sound of and interaction between real instruments.

Still, since this may appeal more to others, here are some things worth mentioning on a number of the tracks. As said Big Train is a jazzy track, and upon second and third listen, it turns out to be somewhat repetitive, which diminished my initial enthusiasm. Hey Dad is a track that is definitely influenced by Pink Floyd's The Wall (1979). The sound of the music, and the vocals hint at a mix of the tracks Hey You, One Of My Turns and The Trial from that album. And of course, the title would then be a hint to Mother. Add to that the fact that Pink Floyd's years long engineer Andy Jackson took care of the mixing and mastering of this album and the sound is complete. Except that this mix of electronics and Pink Floyd doesn't seem to work out as intended.

The Great Deceiver is one of the two tracks on the album that work for me. Being the most rock oriented track that is probably not a big surprise. A pulsing (but again repetitive) bass lays the foundation for a frantic guitar and vocals that remind of Alice Cooper sometimes, at least in style.
The other track I can really enjoy is My Perfect Girl which starts out as if it is going to be danceable, with an electronic sound. Over time it grows darker and more industrial - it even reminds at some point of Belgian act Transport Aerian.

Apart from those, most other tracks are electronic prog, by some referred to as ambient. The connotation I have with that last word fits here as well: repetitive and to an acquired taste. Not necessarily bad, I know quite a few people who enjoy that style of music, but also not something that would easily be called a prog masterpiece. Try before you buy.

*** Angelo Hulshout (edited by Astrid de Ronde)

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