Category Archives: Archive

Heofon – “5th Key”


Well, tonight, I have another wonderful sounding band and album to offer for exploration. Heofon is the name of this British Columbia, Canadian band. They have released their debut album, 5th Key, this year, in the same year as Tool’s long-awaited magnum opus, Fear Inoculum. Why that is important, will become crystal clear…soon.

Heofon is made up of multi-instrumentalists: Simon Haiduk, on bass, cello, synth, guitar, drum programming, mixing, and mastering: Chris Niebergall, on electric and acoustic guitars, Didgeridoos, synth, and mixing; and Tim Niebergall, on drums. The band has been playing together since 2008. Unlike Tool, they have been working on 5th Key, since 2016. The album was recorded in 432Hz tuning, and it was released June 21, 2019. Three months before Fear Inoculum.

The cover art was created by Simon Haiduk. Song iterations were created by Chris Niebergall and Tim Niebergall.

Heofon describes their music as ‘Mystic-Prog’. Heofon means, the home of God, or heaven. Their influences include Tool, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd, among others.

On “Embers”, it sounds as though Heofon had been in the studio, listening to Tool shape and mold Fear Inoculum. The deep bass as lead electric guitar, playing amongst the synths and keyboards sounds a lot like Tool’s opening title track. Only 5th Key was released three months before Fear Inoculum. That deep, pounding bass with drums is just perfect. Primal like Tool, yet with enough imagination and originality of its own. A strong opener and killer symphony of metal. The only thing missing here is a lead singer like Maynard James Keenan. But this symphony is good enough without words.

“Blue Ripple”, opens with cool synths and buzzes. Silent and slow-moving synths and bells welcome you to track two. More of that powerful bass and drumming as the rhythm builds. The lead electric guitar on this track is one of the best on the album. But that bouncing bass is irresistible.

“5th Key”, is the title track and it opens with cool bell chimes and syths, along with that menacing bass. Those guttural drums and bass are joined by the backing of Didgeridoos and some wonderful keys. When the lead electric guitars fire up, the entire soundscape moves like a force charging ahead to victory.

With a title like, “Nusku Talks”, meaning the spoken word of the ‘god of fire and light in ancient Babylonian, Girru’, you know this track is gonna rumble with power. And so, it does. Those deep bass chords hit the floor and drop below. The banging drums only help them sound heavier.

“3rd Key”, is an alternative to the title track. This track is lighter, and airier. Keys and symbols, percussion, and yes that bass thud. The keyboards are soft and light.

“Ambrosia”, surprises you at the opening with brilliant light rays of keyboard sunshine, before warm electric lead guitar chords fill the air. The deep bass is still present, but cool Dave Fielding/Reeves Gabrels/Robert Smith guitar sounds fill the air. One of the best songs on the album.

 

“Vortexed”, is just what it sounds like it would be. Full of cool keyboard and syth effects at its opening. It builds a little like the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Quasar”, however, they do not unleash the raw power of the guitars, like the Pumpkins. Instead, this song grinds slowly, with punctuated bass.

“Omniscience”, is full of stars and wonders keyboards and synth effects. Deep space sounds a plenty. One of my favorite tracks.

“Hero’s Journey”, is a deep, standing bass concerto, before the strings, keys, and drums enter the soundscape. More bass and deep sounds than I have heard in one song this year. An over 9:40 epic journey of sitting bass, cello, Didgeridoos and synths. The best and longest song on the album.

“Amenti”, is full of beautiful space keys and what sounds like electric waves of ocean. Pulsating space sounds fill the soundscape and bring to close, one of the best instrumental albums I have heard all year.

No, Heofon is not Tool. And that is a good thing. I hear many similarities between the two bands, only with the use of the standing bass and the cellos, this album may be even deeper sounding than Fear Inoculum. Get this album and let it take you away like it did me. The journey is worth the price of admission.

Track List

  1. Embers – 8:45
  2. Blue Ripple – 5:36
  3. 5th Key – 9:10
  4. Nusku Talks – 6:55
  5. 3rd Key – 6:51
  6. Ambrosia – 7:00
  7. Vortexed – 9:14
  8. Omniscience – 2:37
  9. Hero’s Journey – 9:43
  10. Amenti – 1:56

www.simonhaiduk.com

www.featherlore.net

www.spiritedceramics.com

https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=435183877323386

https://heofon.bandcamp.com/album/5th-key

https://music.apple.com/us/album/5th-key/1474427747?app=music&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Silent Like Lightning – “Moving Mountains”


Silent Like Lightning considers themselves a progressive, post rock, band. They are based in Austin, Texas. The group was founded in early 2016. The band members include: David Houghton, guitarist and vocalist; Trevor Holden, guitarist; Kyle Duncan, bassist; and Braedon Avants, the drummer.

I found this fantastic band on CDBaby.com, like I do most of my new favorites lately. They released their debut album on September 27, 2019.

“Indeterminacy”, opens the album with a tip of the hat reworking of Mason Williams’ classic, “Classical Gas”, on acoustic guitar; after what sounds like a coin toss. The coin toss reminded me of some those famous westerns I have watched in the past. But, from there on out, this is all innovation from Silent Like Lightning. This acoustic and electric guitar instrumental is a wonderful welcome to the band and one of the best songs on the album. If this song is “not definitely or precisely determined or fixed”, it is not to me. It is a band defining welcome, to some intimate and defining musicianship, that forthrightly defines this band as a presence to be reckoned with in the world of progressive rock. What I am saying is this is Steve Hackett/Steve Howe level playing on your debut album! They have opened the door and made a statement that they are here to stay! They could have stopped the album here and have been considered great. But instead, they went on to deliver one of the best albums of the year.

“Ode”, opens with another welcoming intro, complete with effects and soft electric guitar chords. We hear David Houghton’s first vocals, “Stars I see, the same stars my ancestors looked upon. Stars so far. Once inspired great men now inspires me. Each age is a dying dream. Or a dream come to birth. Late at night I dream of you. But you’re not the one I want to wake up to. A tree bears fruit. Of vibrant hues. Yet with time all beauty slowly fades away. Each age is a dying dream. Or a dream come to birth”. Lyrics of deep feeling and emotion, and remember this is a debut album. The drums, bass, and guitar music is both innovative and stirring. I hear bands like Genesis and others, but it really is definitely more unique than other bands I have heard this year, or in the past. Emotional and moving rhythms and a feeling to the music which requires you to want to stay and hear even more.

“Saudade”, opens again with beautiful acoustic guitar and either wind blown sand or sea. It is simply perfect on a relaxing Saturday or Sunday…or any day for that matter. Only 1:44, and you will wish there was more…

“Broken Music Box”, opens with unbelievable electric guitar work, then it transitions to acoustic guitar, before the Hackett-like electric guitar re-enters the soundscape. Another one of the best songs on the album. The perfect interplay of acoustic and electric guitar makes this one of the best guitar-based albums I have heard this year….by miles. Guitar work unlike what I have heard before. Stunning. Then they top it with rain and thunder as the bass, drums and guitars continue to weave their magic. One of the longest tracks on the album and you will love every minute and note as it goes by.

“One Day…”, opens with the sound of back spinning guitar. David Houghton, sings, “One day I’ll move mountains. But for now, I’ll close my eyes”. Yes, and you should and just take this in. Slow acoustic guitar and a vocal round spins through your ear drums. At 1:27 minutes it speeds way to fast to appreciate all its goodness.

“Bounds of Set”, opens with more wonderful guitar, the sounds of a film projector and traffic; before the guitar work takes over the soundscape. They weave wonderful mazes of interconnected guitar and bass, that you could just close your eyes and listen to all day long. The inter-mitten percussion work helps keep it interesting. Then, David Houghton sings, “When I see the sun in the morning, night begins to fade. Watching mist in the distance ebbing, daybreak. Springtime comes and thaws out the ice that winters left behind. The age-old adage ‘flowers don’t grow in the snow’. I have gone beyond I have gone beyond the bounds of set. I am unique in my flight. When chasing the sun. The sun never sets. Keep the ground moving and your path will be lighted always. It never sets”, bringing back wonderful memories of, yes, Midlakes’s The Courage of Others album.

“En Yhet”, is more wonderful, sweeping and at times weeping guitar. Yeah, George Harrison would love this short 1:41 minute interlude. Like a voluminous ocean rising up and preparing to crash on land.

“Ancient Seven”, opens with powerful affects, then a glowing electronic guitar, amidst keyboard effects. The bass is a wonderful leader as the electric guitar soars higher and higher. This is the longest song on the album, at 8:12 minutes, and the wonderful cadence of the drums is soothing.

“Foreign Landscapes”, has deep, foreboding bass and orchestrated effects. Stringed instruments fill the soundscape as gentle lead electric guitar fills the air. The song does paint a vivid picture of a landscape, as the strings, acoustic and electric guitar weave rhythms into time.

 “Thirst”,  opens with bold drums and full bass, as Houghton sings, “Through the desert all night long. Show me water, guide me on. The only source is on your lips. But you tell me to resist. Walking through the desert. Oasis at my feet. Thinking I found water. Only for a mouth of sand. On through morning day too soon. Lips cracked stained to black. Sometimes clear skies just delude”. Another wonderful journey in time with this band. The instrumental second half of the song that follows, will take you as deep as Death Valley, if you are willing to follow.

 “Halls of Valhalla”, is the closer, and what a powerful epic it is. Houghton sings, “May the halls of Valhalla sing to you. May the halls of Valhalla stand to greet you. Others fade. Remain the same. Words of praise never fade. Nor a noble name. I have gone beyond the bounds. I have gone beyond”. The vocal, “prayer” at the end should hit you deeply and emotionally.

Silent Like Lightning, has created and unbelievably powerful debut album. On,  Moving Mountains, this band issues a summons, to give them a listen, and I am sure you will feel this album needs to be part of your record collection, after an initial hearing. For a band to sing and play this level of music on their debut album is quiet a feat. Most bands take years of performing and perfecting their craft to reach this level. Yes, this band is silent, like lightning. You cannot imagine such a perfect album on a band’s first time in the studio. They have mastered their craft and now offer you the opportunity to listen to one of the most magical albums of the year. Please get this and enjoy.

Track List

  1. Indeterminacy – 5:41
  2. Ode – 6:24
  3. Saudade – 1:44
  4. Broken Music Box – 6:51
  5. One Day… 1:27
  6. Bounds of Set – 6:36
  7. En Yhet – 1:41
  8. Ancient Seven – 8:12
  9. Foreign Landscapes – 4:28
  10.  Thirst – 6:55
  11.  Halls of Valhalla – 3:30

http://www.silentlikelightning.com/

https://www.facebook.com/silentlikelightning/

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/silentlikelightning

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCswE-fbP6YKqn_d6Sh65TuA

https://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/koop

Tool – “Fear Inoculum”


One of the most anticipated music releases of this year was to be Tool’s new album. The anticipation was so global, that once Fear Inoculum, was released, on August 30th, 2019, with special packaging for the CD, it sold out before the end of the day. As of the writing of this review, in mid-October, there are no updated release plans for any CD version. Which is a real shame. This is one of my favorite albums of the year and I do like to have the hard copy of my favorites. I was forced to buy my version on I-Tunes, because, for a while, you could not download the album on the band’s website. Here is hoping they will release it on CD, for the holiday shopping season. After all, why wouldn’t you want the world to have your CD if they want it and will pay to get it?

I must begin this review with the disclaimer that I have never heard a Tool album or any of their music before. So, as you can imagine Fear Inoculum, is a wonderful surprise addition to my music catalog.

I think Fear Inoculum, is a great place to start, for those who share my initial exposure to the band. Tool has released four albums prior to this. However, it has been 13 years since their last album 10,000 Days, which was released in 2006. The rest of their discography includes: Lateralus, in 2001; Ænima, in 1996; and their debut Undertow, in 1993.

For those of you new to Tool, the band is made up of: Danny Carey, on drums and synthesizer; Justin Chancellor, on bass guitar; Adam Jones, on lead guitar; and Maynard James Keenan, on vocals.

Lustmord, created all of the waves and water sound effects.

Fear Inoculum, opens with its title track, “Fear Inoculum”, which is unique in itself. Many bands place the title, or epic closer as the last song. But this title track is perfectly placed to give the listener an introduction to the concept and album theme, which will play out through the songs. The concept is fear, and trying to overcome your fear to the point that you can inoculate yourself from it. Or as my mentor and hero FDR used to say, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself”.

The title track opens with bell like chimes, followed by very deep and ominous bass chords, as gentle drumming and percussion are added to the soundscape. The perfect, slow progression of added bass, then lead guitar and keyboards sets the table for what will come next. Keenan’s first vocals, “Immunity. Long overdue. Contagion, I exhale you. Naïve. I opened up to you. Venom in mania”.

This lyrical intro is perfect. Sometimes we are innocent to the contagion of fear. We let it get a foothold, until later we believe, as Keenan sings, “The deceiver says, he says. You belong to me. You don’t wanna breathe the light of the others. Fear the light. Fear the breath. Fear the others for eternity”. Yes, that is exactly how fear works. But thankfully this song is rejecting fear. Not only rejecting, providing an impetus for inoculating yourself from fear, for eternity.

Meanwhile some of the best music of the year is being laid down to provide the perfect conditions for both building fear and expelling the same. Later, Keenan sings, “Bless this immunity”. And closes the song with “Deceiver. Chased away. A long time. Coming!” The best, and one of the longest songs on the album, besides my favorite, “Invincible”. Complete with an instrumental extravaganza ending for bands to envy for years. This drum assault will live on in your memories and ears.

 Everything about this song celebrates the 13 year wait for its airing. The band has put together the perfect blending of Motorhead, Dream Theater, Queensryche, ACDC, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen and Metallica in one song, first, and then an album. Bands will be trying to match this power for years…maybe 13 more…ha, ha. Please watch the live video of this song to really get the band’s ultimate interpretation and power playing of this song, complete with a light show that will also stun and amaze.

“Pneuma”, is another minute and a half longer than the opener. It is as just as good. Slow grinding electric guitar with intricate percussion, before more guitars, bass, and then that wonderful long bowed bass. Just a thumping madness when the drums begin their precision punch. Everyone drum pound, a gut punch. Like a heart punch to wake you or your soul up from its slumber. All the instruments firing like a well-oiled, hard-bodied, muscle car revving its engine in top form. Pneuma, the word means, “the vital spirit, soul, or creative force of a person”. Keenan sings, We, are spirit bound to this flesh. We go round, one foot nailed down. But bound to reach out and beyond this flesh”. Become Pneuma”. Yes, please. Like an echo of Pink Floyd’s Time, “You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”. So yes, reach for your potential.

Keenan sings, as if summoned by Roger Waters, “We are will and wonder. Bound to recall, remember. We are born of one breath, one word. We are all one spark, sun becoming. Child, wake up. Child, release the light!” What a effervescent anthem, if ever there was one!

 “Litanie Contre la Peur”, is one of the shortest songs on the album at 2:16. Either a keyboard or synthesized guitar’s, endless chord. It is amazing in its ability to stir your thoughts. Like some of the wonderful work in between songs on Dark Side of the Moon. ‘Litany against fear’ is its English translation. Potentially a reference to Frank Herbert’s book Dune, and the scene where Paul Atreides tempts the pain box.

“Invincible”, is my favorite song on the album. But not because it is the third longest. It’s the lyrics on this one. Oh, and yes…the drums. The lyrics took me back to two of my favorite songs from the past. The first is Peter Gabriel’s warrior in “San Jacinto”. Just like Gabriel, Tool describes their warrior so well. You imagine you are him, or you are there looking long into that field or forest. Keenan sings, “Long in tooth and soul. Longing for another win. Lurch into the fray. Weapon out and belly in. Warrior struggling. To remain consequential. Bellow aloud. Bold and proud. Of where I’ve been. But here I am!”

The atomic thump of the drums throughout and near the end of this song are an anthem or symphony in themselves, especially when supported by plucking deep bass guitar. The guitars are great too. One of the most primal anthems I’ve ever heard…since Gabriel’s breath taker.

The other song which this one reminds me of is the band O.S.I.’s famous song “Hero”. In fact, at times, Keenan’s voice reminds me of Kevin Moore. Is “Invincible” a story of a warrior of the jungle, past, or from “Desert Storm”…you decide? It’s your dream.

 “Legion Inoculant”, is another short interlude before your breath is taken away again by an epic. At 3:12, it opens like a UFO landing made with keyboards. Then cool keys and synthesizers help further sooth. Very trippy, indeed. Spacey voices. One cool short space trip. Taking me back to the Dark Side of the Moon.

“Culling Voices”, is a 10:07 minute anthem, that opens with those beautiful ‘light across the water at dawn’ keyboards. Then some of the best opening lead electric guitar chords on the album. They could have let this continue throughout the song.

The concept of silencing or eliminated voices or people. Keenan sings, Psychopathy. Misleading me over and over and over. Judge, condemn, and banish any and every one. Without evidence. Only the whispers from within”. He continues,  “Psychopathy. Misleading me over and over and over. Don’t you dare point that at me!”

Like a throwback to the Floyd’s Wishing You Were Here, you can almost hear Roger Waters in the spaces between the words and notes, sing, “We’re just two lost souls, swimming in a fish bowl, year after year. Running over the same old ground. And how we found. The same old fears”, or even a return to the carnage of Brain Damage. An excellent song full of power and majesty when the lead electric guitar, bass and those smashing drums let go of their grist.

“Descending”, opens with earthquake, lava moving on the land or ground rumbling effects. Then the ocean and waves. Slowly played bass, like Roger Waters taking over the album. Keenan sings, “Free fall through our midnight. This epilogue of our own fable. Heedless in our slumber. Floating nescient we free fall through this boundlessness this madness, of our own making. Falling isn’t flying. Floating isn’t infinite. Come, our end, suddenly. All hail our lethargy. Concede suddenly”. “Sound our dire reveille. Rouse all from our apathy. Lest we, cease to be. Stir us from our wanton slumber. Mitigate our ruin. Call us all to arms and order!”

Yes, like “Us and Them”, an anthem to wake ‘em up and break the apathy. Care for something, if not for yourself and the future. The grinding lead electric guitar that follows is some of the best on the album. This far into the album, I think I have found my favorite new drummer.  Danny Carey, on drums and yes synthesizer, what a wonderful and unique match. Usually the bassist or vocalist plays synthesizers. The drums are like John Bonham, great throughout this album.

Then Carey gets downright Rush “2112 Overture/The Camera Eye”, only sounding deeper, with the synths. Then he is back to banging the drums like he is trying to escape from a cage. The blistering lead electric guitar from Adam Jones, sounds of bowed Jimmy Page as the waves return, and suddenly you’re back at the end of Rush’s “Natural Science”…wow!

“Chocolate Chip Trip”, is another short side trip of 4:50. It takes you back to the Court of the Crimson King, and those beautiful water chimes and gongs. Followed closely by some Larry Fast-like, computer programming on synths. Very cool break between epics. Like that excellent intermission you always wished for, in-between movies, at theaters of the 1970s.

“7empest”, is the over 15-minute epic closer on the album. “Mockingbeat” follows, but it is merely a wave goodbye. “7empest” opens with some unbelievably wonderful guitar fret meandering from Adam Jones, with more percussion rhythms blending together to create a rhythm that could either hypnotize or put you to sleep. But then Carey is back with the kicking drums. On this one Keenan makes some growling sounds, like full on Jim Morrison, then for the rest of the song, he sounds like Mötley Crüe’s Vince Neil, on the song, “Dr. Feelgood”, (the only song I ever liked from that band). In fact, this song almost sounds like a 2019 version of “Dr. Feelgood’s” rhythm and beat, only louder.

Only this time the subject nature has changed. Instead of a drug kingpin, we have elevated the reach to the highest office in the land. Keenan sings, “Heat lighting flash, but don’t blink. Misleading. Tranquility ruse. You’re gonna happen again. That’s what I think. Follow the evidence. Look it dead in the eye. You are darkness. Trying to lull us in, before the havoc begins. Into a dubious state of serenity. Acting all surprised when you’re caught in the lie. We know better. It’s not unlike you. It’s not unlike you. We know your nature”.

Study those lyrics carefully: “Misleading. Tranquility ruse. Follow the evidence. Trying to lull us in, before the havoc begins. Into a dubious state of serenity. Acting all surprised when you’re caught in the lie”. If you have been living in America you would be blind not to know who they are talking about. Yes, “We know better”. Then, finally the smoking gun, “A tempest must be true to its nature. A tempest must be just that”. They nailed it…perfectly.

“Mockingbeat”, is a nice wave good bye to one of the best albums of this decade. Chirping and percussion. Like “Revolution 9” off the White Album.

Fear Inoculum, will sit comfortably on the shelf next to any of the greatest albums of all time that you wish to compare. For me Fear Inoculum, is this generation’s Dark Side of the Moon, Wishing You Were Here, and Animals all wrapped up into one. It has memories of every major stellar group you can name. And I’ve already named quiet a few in this review.Like those great albums mentioned, Fear Inoculum asks us to measure where we are now, and dares us to dream for more. It asks, like Pink Floyd on Dark Side, look at what you are doing to yourself, caught up in the machine. “You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today. And then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun”.

Please get this album or listen to it, if only to appreciate what a band can do when they take their time and really try to create something lasting, like every major band from the 1960s and 70s did. This band is already famous, now they are shooting for legend.

Fear Inoculum was mixed and engineered by “Evil” Joe Barresi. Bob Ludwig, did the album mastering. Tool created the overall production. Engineering assistance was contributed by: Jun Murakawa, Morgan Stratton, Kevin Mills, Garret Lubow, Wesley Seidman, Scott Moore, and Greg Foeller. Guitar techs include: Dan Druff, Tim Dawson, Scott Dachroaden, Pete Lewis, and Sacha Dunable. Drum techs include: Bruce Jacoby, Jon Nikcolson, Joe Slaby, and Junior Kittlitz. Additional tracking: Mat Mitchel, Tim Dawson, and Andrew Means.

The artwork and video for Fear Inoculum was directed by Adam Jones. Alex Grey did the cover art, booklet art, video concept and video direction. Mackie Osborne created the design and layout. Joyce Su added additional art, visual effects, and design. Matthew Santoro produced CGI, video design, and acted as VFX director. Ryan Tottle & Dominic Hailstone created visual effects. Sean Cheetham created the Tool portraits. Photography was produced by: Kristin Burns, Alex Landeen, Travis Shinn, Lee Young, and Ann Chien.

Track List

  1. Fear Inoculum – 10:22
  2. Pneuma – 11:55
  3. Litanie Contre la Peur – 2:16
  4. Invincible – 12:46
  5. Legion Inoculant – 3:12
  6. Culling Voices – 10:07
  7. Descending – 13:38
  8. Chocolate Chip Trip – 4:50
  9. 7empest – 15:46
  10.  Mockingbeat – 2:06

https://toolband.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ToolMusic
Fear Inoculum. Available Now.

Fear Inoculum. Available Now.

Posted by Tool on Friday, August 30, 2019
Fear Inoculum cover

FEAR INOCULUM. Title track and album pre-order, Wednesday, August 7th. Links will be posted tomorrow, Tuesday, August 6th, on our band URL and social accunts. #tool2019

Posted by Tool on Monday, August 5, 2019

No-Man – “Love You to Bits”

Wow! Eleven years waiting for a new No Man album. Both Tim Bowness and Steve Wilson have been very busy with solo and other projects in the interim. They now return to deliver Love You to Bits, this November 22, 2019.

Can you dance to prog? Well…now you can, when its blended well with electronica, ambient, pop and fusion. Especially when that album “chronicles the aftermath of a relationship from different perspectives”. An album about Love and its affects.

Love You to Bits, is No Man’s seventh album, and possibly its most entertaining. The band is made up of Tim Bowness, the lyrics writer, who also sings lead and harmony vocals; and Steven Wilson, on guitars, keyboards and other instruments. The album was written and produced by No Man .

The band invited guest performers on Love You to Bits, including: Adam Holzman, (from Moonparticle, Steven Wilson, and The Fents), playing keys; David Kollar, from Komara, playing guitars; Ash Soan, from Aviv Gefen, on drums; Pete Morgan, playing bass; and the Dave Desmond Brass Quintet.

“Love You to Bits” opens with some very cool orchestration, and then Tim Bowness’ voice enters the soundscape. One of the best voices in prog, never disappoints. “What are you thinking? What are you dreaming? I’d like to know what’s on your mind”. The keyboards are warm and welcoming. A very danceable beat sets the mood and makes this latest album, by one of my favorite groups, a very accessible creation. At around the 2:54 minute mark, a cool riff that sounds similar to one I remember from Pineapple Thief’s “Nothing at Best”, enters and it is repeated to great effect. Bowness continues to unfold his feelings for a past love before us. The openness and clarity is something we absolutely need in this current state of ‘no contact’ world we live in. Everything seems to be cold and shared over an impersonal Internet. The fact that a human being is expressing feelings so freely is refreshing.

The same open feelings are expressed to different pulses and beats throughout the five songs that make the complete set of side one or “Love You to Bits”. Trance, electronica, ambient, and freely danceable music is used to transmit this wonderful self-expression. Reaching out person-to-person for interaction. Like it used to be. Not over some sanitized cell phone or Internet connection.

The laser cool guitar work and Depeche Mode like keyboards are wonderful. The Dave Desmond Brass Quintet’s closing requiem sound is the perfect punctuation to the end of side one of the album.

“Love You to Pieces”, is the second side of the album and it is also broken into five parts. It opens with gentle flute like sounds, then Bowness sings softly and emotionally. “All of the heartache. All of the signs. All of the waiting. All of the time. All of the things we should have known. I thought of the future”. The gut feeling of a sudden end to a relationship.

This side of the album starts out more subdued, and more questioning of what has happened in the past. There is contemplation of the time spent, and the memories of what will be missed. This is a song of regret for a very dynamic and potent love, not a one-night stand.

On part 2, Bowness uses voice modulation to great effect.

On track 3, we get the powerful lyrics, “It felt like the future”.

On the closing track 5, I got a sense of the rhythm and keyboards I remember from 10CC’s “I’m Not in Love”.

This album, forces the listener to contemplate how much they want to hear those words, “I Love You”? I think it is the Holy Grail that we all seek from birth; and in many different ways. Just to belong to the society we live within, and the world as a whole. Imagine that feeling, set to music. That is what you get with No Man’s latest creation. It also, hopefully, makes you appreciate how important and fragile love is, and to try to preserve it.

Tool might have written the album of this year…capturing the current anti-social climate which has engulfed the world. No Man envisions a return to the feeling of normalcy and caring, which existed before this nationalistic fervor, that has gripped the world. They explore what it feels to be in love and to lose it. Their vision is more expansive and inclusive of more of the Earth’s residents. Their vision transcends time. Both good and bad times. We will always search for love like the Holy Grail. “No Man is an island”, and Love You to Bits may be the greatest affirmation of the band’s origin. After all,…”Love is all we need…”

Please get this album if you have ever loved, wanted love, or dreamed of what it would be like to be in love.

Track List

  1. – 4:53
  2. Love You to Bits (Bit 2) – 1:03
  3. Love You to Bits (Bit 3) – 1:35
  4. Love You to Bits (Bit 4) – 5:15
  5. Love You to Bits (Bit 5) – 4:19
  6. Love You to Pieces (Piece 1) – 6:03
  7. Love You to Pieces (Piece 2) – 4:02
  8. Love You to Pieces (Piece 3) – 3:03
  9. Love You to Pieces (Piece 4) – 2:02
  10.  Love You to Pieces (Piece 5) – 3:44

Love You to Bits was produced by NoMan, and the album was mixed by Bruno Ellingham. Matt Colton mastered the album for Caroline International.

https://www.facebook.com/nomanofficial/?ref=nf

https://burningshed.com/no-man_love-you-to-bits_cd