Monday, March 2, 2015

SYLVAN: "Home"

Rating: RRr
Label: Gentle Art Of Music 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

It's the rather posh concept around the never ending quest of the human condition for "Home", that very special place that can provide a feeling of complete safety. It's a maze of worries, doubts and fears, which trigger our protagonist to go out and seek the truth. Once found, however, the new discovery threatens to make the pillars of her world view collapse. What decision will she make'. Bloody'ell. And you thought that neoclassical prog and art rock couldn't be any weirder? It's the mish-mash of long forgotten childhood memories and how past collides with future in today's world? To be completely honest, it's all a bit too sterile and cold? Like ice cream in a lab? The main story would have us thinking about humans as the only ones in need of home and shelter? C'mon, that's just silly.

Okay. So let's try and look past the rather confusing story and directly at the music. Never ones to spring anything radical new and different styles/genres as in say country or funk influences, it's however still experimental and complex prog with a soft spot for the giants of the past. The completely new would be that guest guitarist Jonathan Beck adds an even more elaborate element of precision to "Home". Experimental art rock - nothing new? Well. You know what I mean. This is the eight or ninth? studio album and you know what to expect from the unexpected act. Like it or not, they do have a certain formula and structure and it's all Sylvan.

"Home" is far from a dodgy effort and sadly also far from superb. It ticks that box right in between the two and you need to spend some time in front of your stereo (or pc or whatever your choice) before it grabs you mildly by the hand. I keep hoping for that good old kick to the head, but no such luck. Don't get me wrong. It's the sort of album that plays nicely in the background while you concentrate on dinner or typing, but it may just lack that extra touch. Lovely atmospheric keyboards by Volker Söhl and you could easily imagine this playing while watching the TV series of 'the Bridge' or anything Scandinavian for that matter. Yeah... I quite like that sentence by yours truly so let me just type it again, 'it grabs you mildly by the hand'. Genius me...

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