Liquid Scarlet - II


Year of Release: 2005
Label: Progress Records
Catalog Number: PRCD 016
Format: CD
Total Time: 57:15:00

Liquid Scarlet. When I saw these guys for the very first time live last year I was gobsmacked. I already knew their material from their debut album, but that evening they also performed live some of the new songs that can now be found on this, their second album. What I like about them is their attitude and their very own "now" sound. It still very much remains prog, but they do it without looking back to the seventies, copying bits and pieces from established names in the genre. Already from the opening song on this new album, which starts with solitary and simple piano chords, the band grabs your attention. Then singer Markus Fagervall kind of recites the lyrics rather than actually sing them. Bit by bit however the arrangement "swells" as more instruments join in. In a way its like an alternative bolero, but strong enough to keep you focussed throughout. The band has an incredible ear for interesting hooks and splendid melodies, although they tend to deliver both commercial sounding odds and sods and pure progressive epics in one go. The lengthy "The Carafe (Part II)" begins almost in authentic Anekdoten style before the music is steered into a jazzy direction with Markus' vocals sounding like an overworked Tom Waits. The same jazzy feeling, combined with folky sidesteps and a wonderful vocal melody, form the backbone for "The Marriage Of Maria Braun," a song that I honestly can't compare to anything that has ever been recorded. Superb how the vocal harmonies settle against the original sound of the Fender Rhodes. Talking of folk, the soft storytelling atmosphere of "Rhodedendron" is spiced up by means of an accordion, whilst extra echo on the voice adds a psychedelic touch to it all. Again this long song contains plenty of unexpected twists and turns so that instead of a song it kind of ends up being a mini theatre play.

"Everywhere" once again breathes and depicts the original nature of early Anekdoten, this time around even incorporating cello. However the aggressive intro is soon shoved aside once Markus' vocals blend nicely with distant xylophone sounds. Captivating and entrancing. The next song "Just Like You," not only uses cello but also adds violin and viola. In fact the only accompaniment comes from a wonderful string quartet. Imagine those heavenly sounds only combined with vocals. This is Art with a big "A"! Simultaneously with this full album release, the band also released a five-track EP. This EP features "Killer Couple Strikes Again" plus four unreleased bonus tracks. "Killer Couple" also features on the full album and is a great uptempo tune that contains a great melodic Moog as the recognizable hook. I already mentioned the use of accordion and the folky nature of one of the songs. Both ingredients are also part of the lush "There's Got To Be A Way To Leave," which I feel could be an ideal soundtrack. Especially the closing section which sees the piano and accordion unite with the string quartet. It kind of reminds me of "Les Parapluies De Cherbourg." Some time after the band's debut album I received a five track cd-r with new songs. The opening track really blew me away, so I'm pleased that it finally has found its way onto this brand new disc. "The Thorn In Your Flesh" contains all the right elements to make this a standout track and without any doubt it contains the strongest melodies you'll find on the entire disc. Although the band is a fivepiece they are not afraid to use their instruments in a solitary setting, which I sometimes find very daring. The piano first mingles with the voice in "Lines" before guitar, bass and drums follow one by one. Towards the end the superb sound of the mellotron leads this album towards a grand finale only Liquid Scarlet is able to create!

Recorded, produced and mixed by the band themselves, I guess this is what the Liquid Scarlet sound has to sound like. Although quite young they fully understand they have come to a point where they have to decide for themselves which direction to take. An outside producer might do more harm than justice right now, so full marks for taking the decision to keep everything into the Liquid Scarlet family! This ain't vintage prog and it ain't rock. This most definitely is music of a higher dimension. The kind of music which simple souls like us can't really define. II is an out of this world beauty and a strong contender for album of the year!


Tracklisting:
Lines Are Drawn Again (5:14) / The Carafe (Part II) (10:07) / The Marriage Of Maria Braun (4:33) / Rhododendron (9:30) / Every Where (4:05) / Just Like You (4:19) / Killer Couple Strikes Again (3:51) / There:s Got To Be A Way To Leave (4:26) / The Thorn In Your Flesh (3:56) / Lines (7:09)

Musicians:
Olov Andersson - guitars, clarinet
Johan Lundström - drums, percussion, vocals
Markus Fagervall - lead vocals, guitars
Joel Lindberg - bass
Olle Sjögren - keyboards

Discography:
Liquid Scarlet
Killer Couple Strikes Again (ep) (2005)
II (2005)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: October 30th 2005
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.liquidscarlet.com
Hits: 892
Language: english

  

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