November 7, 2011

Review: Touchstone-The City Sleeps

Touchstone is the sweeping British Progressive Rock band that has been taking the world by storm. The band’s inception was in 2003 and consists of Rob Cottingham (keyboard, vocals), Adam Hodgeson (guitar), Paul Moorghen (bass), Henry Rogers (drums) and Kim Seviour (vocals). The City Sleeps is the third studio album from this very talented group.

Listening to this album, I was swept away by the epic theatrical elements the band projects through their music. It is very melodic and reaches great heights of composition and creativity. The album was mixed by John Mitchell and mastered by Tim Turan.

“Corridors” is the first track on the album and has some pretty impressive guitar action going on. It is sensuous. The riffs and chords are a power punch that seduces you right into Seviour’s vocals. Drums pound out a rhythm that compels you to listen. Keyboards flash and the tension builds, spiraling up and out into the night. This track is a great lead in to the album and a good example of why I think this band will only be going upward on their journey to greatness.

“Half Moon Meadow” begins with a tender departure from many of the other songs on the album. Seviour’s voice melts over you and is met with Cottingham’s soothing male vocals. The instrumentation in this piece is very much in the shadows for the first portion of the song. Sweet, like a fairy tale or love story, the vocals are cradled in delicate musical composition. In the second half of the song, the guitar riffs take over like a fiery dragon freed from captivity. This is a piece you will want to listen to more than once just to get a clear picture of what the lyrics are really saying. The melodies created here are woven into a beautiful tapestry of sound that you will want to explore for hidden jewels.

“Good Boy Psycho” is a track that takes you on a jagged inner journey. Seviour’s vocals spin a lyrical tale that goes from sweet to sinister in a matter of seconds. Inner demons play out through vocals and some very energetic guitar riffs. While I enjoyed the song, I wanted to hear more volume and depth from the male vocals. The song is a series of contradictions. Duality of the human spirit is a theme expressed here. Demons that torment the soul despite efforts to exorcise them are ever present. The good that comes with evil helps to make the person whole, just like the song would be less if it was more one thing instead of the series of contradictions that makes this piece unique. You never know from one moment to the next what you are going to get.

The City Sleeps is an album that will capture your imagination. The guitar playing is epic. Musically, the composition is well formed and the harmonies work well together. Even in a piece like “Good Boy Psycho” that jostles you around like a musical roller coaster, this band creates a melodic experience that will keep you coming back for more. The lengthy songs like “When Shadows Fall” and “The City Sleeps” are theatrical works of art that are perfect examples of progressive rock at its finest.

Stars 4.5/5

Key Tracks- Corridors, Half Moon Meadow, Good Boy Psycho

Dana Wright

November 7, 2011

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