Liquid Scarlet - Liquid Scarlet

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

What a great surprise! What a fucking great surprise! After the media slagged off progressive rock in favour of punk and new wave years later the prog revival mainly was something launched by "older" musicians. Either it concerned older bands being reformed or new bands which were formed around "older" musicians who were not that famous the first time around. Take Flower Kings and Spock's Beard as prime examples of the latter. That's why I'm so terribly chuffed to hear this debut album by the unknown upcoming talents of Liquid Scarlet. Once again it concerns a Swedish band formed by a bunch of very young people, youngsters who most certainly were not around during the genre's heyday. That's what makes it so very interesting, that young people want to create new music, music that does not fit the commercial criteria at all. Without explicitely calling it progressive rock Liquid Scarlet has created a true masterpiece in what they call "new music."

"We try to make music which experiences all emotions and every feeling, just like a movie or a good book," the band says. With King Crimson, Yes, Genesis but also Björk, Radiohead and Frank Zappa as main influences, this band has been experimenting with music for about seven years now. On stage they all wear white clothes to also make a statement in that department. With all five members being in their twenties, you could easily see this band as one of the standard-bearers of the new wave of progressive rock. Take early Anekdoten and blend with a mix of Landberk and Änglagärd and you get the purest Swedish prog-cocktail you can imagine. Cover it with excuisite layers of mellotron and you pretty much know what to expect.

Thick washes of mellotron and tons of rhythmic breaks are the main dynamics in the opening section of "Greyroom" with Markus Fagervall's soft whispering voice as counterpoint. The next section even contains the power of a young Black Sabbath entertwined with early Anekdoten combined with Red era King Crimson. It's that fingerlicking good! The inclusion of the not so obvious clarinet also adds a certain folky charm to the whole, whilst also incorporating the Swedish prog legacy as introduced by the likes of Samla Mannas Manna several years ago. In "Citta Nuova," Fagervall delivers a chorus that will most certainly become a classic in years to come as it's so damned catchy without losing the prog idiom out of sight for even just one second. Great synth lead from the lady on keys Frida Lundström. Destructive and authentic King Crimson atmosphere combined with the lush textures of a subtle Änglagärd are to be found in "Molok" which once again contains some superb bass lines, great distorted guitar leads, and wonderful percussive input. As often happens in the music of Liquid Scarlet, louder passages are mixed with more ambient textures so as to underline the various atmospheres contained in one single composition. In "Comes Near Lingers Far" I detect a certain amount of Paatos magic whilst vocal harmonies inject some extra magic, backed once again by soothing mellotron. Sometimes Markus' vocals contain a little bit of that of A-Ha's Morten Harket. such as in the beginning of "The Red Stairs" which soon places fiery bass on top of seas of mellotron. In the soft passages the inclusion of marimba adds some mysticism backed by jazzy drums. The album closes with the devastating "One Last Masquerade" which closes with the main melody being repeated on church organ in order to end this debut album with a surprise.

Liquid Scarlet most certainly has released one of the better albums of this year and no doubt they have made a statement that progressive rock is back with a vengeance and with a young view as to how it should sound in the 21st century. Although they do "borrow" certain well-known ideas from time to time, they nevertheless deliver it in an original way combining several atmospheres all at once. If prog can't reach a wider audience because most of the artists involved are too old, then these youngsters most certainly can be the start of a completely new revival. In the end it looks like it's all coming back! I wish them all the luck in the world and can't wait to see them live!

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 Lundström - drums, percussion, acoustic guitar, church organ, tin whistle, background voice
Markus Fagervall - voice, guitar
Joel Lindberg - bass, screams
Frida Lundström - piano, Hammond, keyboards

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

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: April 4th 2004
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website:
Hits: 797
Language: english


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