Liquid Scarlet - Liquid Scarlet

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Progress Records
Catalog Number: PRCD 012
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:44:00

From Sweden - where else these days, eh? - comes Liquid Scarlet and their self-titled debut, released by Progress Records, home to Cross, Grand Stand and Spektrum. Liquid Scarlet are Olov Andersson on guitar, clarinet and tambourine,* Johan Lundström on drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, church organ, tin whistle and background vocals; Markus Fagervall on vocals and guitar; Joel Lindberg on bass and screaming; and Frida Lunström on piano, Hammond and keyboards. If you look at the picture on the center page of the booklet and didn't know that this was a modern (current) band, you might suspect it was a reissue from a 70s prog band. The long hair, glum looks? ah, except for Fagervall, who could be (in this pic at least) modeling for an Obsession ad or Tommy Hilfiger.

The album begins right away, with a hard-edged, chunky attack. Oh, not metal, but bass notes are banged out and drums crash? it's all very angular. These give away to keyboards, sparkling guitar phrases and moody vocal delivery. References? well, it took awhile for me to really come up with them, but I'd have to say King Crimson-ish musically, but something drier, starker vocally. Well, hmm? Discipline. That'd be another reference point, conceptually, I suppose. Very vague ELP references, and more impressions than any particular lick or effect. Emerson in the abstract maybe. And there is a 70s prog rock feel about the music, too, in the second track "Hesistating In The Foyer."

A dreamy, dreary feel is given to us in the first part of ultra-moody "Citt´ Nuova," which then becomes more angular with sci-fi-horror keyboard effects. This piece is a sci-fi tale of humanity giving way to machines - clich? thematically, but the stark and metallic feel the track is given makes the well worn idea a life of it's own. We've seen it before, and this kind of future still scares us. And, only because it's very much on my mind, I am thinking of the new and improved Battlestar Galactica? which this song is not about, of course, but? well, it does use a familiar theme.

Speaking of familiar, the marching rhythm of the dark instrumental "Molok" sounds very much Crimson-like, and we have to mention fellow Swedes here Landberk and Änglagård. And also seems to reflect the theme of "Citt´ Nuova." You can almost imagine this piece as a modern interpretation of a classic, maybe Holtz.

And just to play with one's expectations, "Talking In Ashes" begins as a sparse, dry, pastoral ? a piece with a soft, romantic feel of some 70s soft rock, but ? not quite. And that has mostly to do with Fagervall's delivery. But, as this is a avant-prog release, there are the familiar angular, angry passages, a flurry of sound, each instrument claiming it's right to be heard. You also get a 70s soft-rock feel with "Comes Near, Lingers Far" which made me think of an arty coming together of The Carpenters ("Sing") and Camel (Stationary Traveller period) and Alan Parsons Project (almost anything), with occasional Crimson interludes (nearly all Cs? how odd). It's one part dreamy, one part angular. Here we get a very sweet, soaring guitar solo from Andersson.

The album closes with "One Last Masquerade" which includes a few notes that made me think of Procol Harum's "Conquistador." It's a very mellow piece, except for a lovely, emotive guitar solo, which leads into a brief jazzy passage of guitar and bass in duet, a tone much brighter, happier even, than heard on the rest of the album. Of course, being about death, it's hardly cheery.

Gloomy, yes. Moody, yes. Hauntingly beautiful at times; wonderfully angular at others, yes. Recommended. Yes. A very good debut that provides interest for repeated listenings, complex enough to reveal new facets each time.

[*Incidently, Andersson is not the same Andersson that played with Grand Stand, Cross and Spektrum... - SS]

Greyroom (5:23) / Hesitating In The Foyer (4:39) / Citta Nuova (8:32) / Molok (5:16) / Talking In Ashes (6:42) / Comes Near, Lingers Far (8:25) / The Red Stairs (5:52) / One Last Masquerade (8:13)

Olov Andersson - guitar, clarinet, tambourine
Johan Lundstr?m - drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, church organ, tin whistle, background voice
Markus Fagervall - voice, guitar
Joel Lindberg - bass, screams
Frida Lundstr?m - piano, Hammond, keyboards

Liquid Scarlet (2004) Killer Couple Strikes Again (ep) (2005) II (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: January 31st 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 819
Language: english


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