MESSENGER - Illusory Blues

Kategorie: CD-Reviews | Genre: Prog, Artrock, Psychedelic/Space Rock | Heft: Jahrgang 2014, eclipsed Nr. 159 / 4-2014 | VÖ-Jahr: 2014 | Wertung: 8.5/10, Album des Monats | Label: Svart | Autor: AS

Do you think the London band with that name did themselves a favour? If you google "Messenger Band", you get pages of hits to the Saarland metal combo Messenger. But the colleagues of the same name debuting here are light years away from that. Surely they were travelling in spheres where it is forbidden to deal with such low PR questions. That at least suggests her exquisite, picture-rich, contemplative music. But maybe they will soon be able to move between the search engine entries of the German namesakes. They deserved it, anyway. Messengers were founded in 2012 by guitarists and singers Khaled Lowe and Barnaby Maddick. You can't tell from the music they produce as messengers that they did hardcore, punk, black metal and ambient before. Their record "Illusory Blues" offers a homogeneous mixture of artrock, retroprog, folk and psychedelic. The quintet, which is completed by Dan Knight (g/keys), James Leach (b) and Jaime Gomez Arellano (dr), succeeds in building a bold and elegantly curved transatlantic bridge over the seething ocean of the mainstream. Messenger's Harmoniegesang, for example, a supporting pillar of the seven pieces, can change from California to Canterbury style ("Piscean Tide") in the twinkling of an eye with a small tonal twist. The folk elements woven into the pieces change accordingly. Only the progressive particles remain typically British: you can hear transverse flutes and classically plucked acoustic guitars. One feels reminded of Anthony Phillips' early solo albums ("The Return"), even if Flamenco is still heard in the same song. In "Midnight" it gets surreal and bizarre like in the wackiest Steven Wilson songs; and the guitar work in "Dear Departure" reminds us of King Crimson in its slow, threatening structure. Apropos guitars: The album gets by without any distorted sounds. But there are wonderful keyboard and string arrangements. And the often gentle solo singing could easily compete with James Blunt in a pure pop robe. In the context of this contemplative, partly cinematic music, however, he almost becomes the herald. Exactly this one releases the listener at the end into the thin, but absolutely pure air of the Himalayan highlands, on the roof of the world, where the gods live, in the appropriately titled, almost esoteric "Let The Light In" with flutes, heavenly choirs, sitar and overtone-like sounds almost like esoteric overtones. Like a divine coincidence, Messenger combines the organic growth of Gazpacho with the narrative excellence of Änglagård and the mystic-spun by Steven Wilson. What a debut!

Top track: Midnight

Back to overview