Youthopia - Misha's Journey

(CD 2023, 69:26, MaRaCash Records)

The tracks:
  1- The Muse(5:36)
  2- Tommy's Dream(5:31)
  3- Stay Human (Song For Gaza)(6:58)
  4- Lazy Waltz(3:51)
  5- Uncle Joe(5:24)
  6- Black Rain(3:42)
  7- Apple Lullaby (Sofia's song)(4:51)
  8- Rocking Santa(1:38)
  9- D.A.D.(4:50)
10- Misha & The 7/8 Journey(27:20)

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Dimitri Sardini, the guitar picker of the Italian prog rock band Moongarden, recorded this album during the lock down period in the year 2020. Sardini (composer of all the music and lyrics) was assisted by singer Jeff Scott Soto (Sons Of Apollo, Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey), drummer Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats) and keyboarder Cristiano Roversi (Moongarden, John Wetton).

Seven of the ten tracks on Misha's Journey are instrumental, highlighting Sardini's more than excellent guitar playing, especially tracks like Tommy's Dream, Apple Lullaby (Sofia's Song), and D.A.D. which are extremely melodic and some of the high-pitched arpeggios in those tracks give me goosebumps all over; love it! The Muse, Stay Human (Song For Gaza) and the epic last track Misha & The 7/8 Journey feature vocals of the always impressive Jeff Scott Soto. However, I find Stay Human, especially the chorus rather tedious and “dull,” while the epic “monster” Misha & The 7/8 Journey is a prog rock rollercoaster clocking in over twenty-seven minutes! That one you have to listen to a couple of times to really “understand” and appreciate it, but it is definitely worth the time and effort indeed. The obvious redundant song here is Rocking Santa, an instrumental Christmas song, which you can only play in December obviously.

Overall, I really would recommend this album for listeners who like screaming and soaring guitars and prog rock music from the eighties. Listening tip: Tommy's Dream.

***+ Martien Koolen (edited by Dave Smith)

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