Elegant Simplicity - Anhedonia

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Proximity Records
Catalog Number: ESCD 16
Format: CD
Total Time: 67:26:00

Once in a while promotional CDs are sent without any information about the album or band. And when you get a really interesting disc, that is a bummer, but thank God for the Internet and official band websites. The album in question here is Anhedonia, the band is Elegant Simplicity. A quick glance over their website almost shocked me: since the formation in 1992, they have received already 15 albums! So, Anhedonia is their 16th album already, and yet it is the first I ever hear from them. Well, I won't bore you with their history, as you can read all about that on their website. Let me suffice by telling Elegant Simplicity is basically a two man outfit: Founder Steve McCabe, who plays just about any instrument and Christopher Knight, who fortunately plays live drums on the album, although some parts are programmed drums.

No vocalist, so an all instrumental album. The overall mood is very relaxed and laid back, so this is an easy listening album, yet the compositions are challenging enough to keep the attention of the listener. The songs are composed in a concept form, so to do justice to the music, you should listen to the album in its entirety. The closest description of the music I can give is a mix of some Camel, Mike Oldfield and Glass Hammer. Personally I find it a tough job reviewing all instrumental albums, since the vocals are out of the equation, that leaves the instruments, who now also have to take on the parts which normally are filled by the vocals and thus having the risk to sound too technical. Fortunately, I don't find Anhedonia a technical album. On the foreground the synth and guitar take turns in the lead, with some modern sounding keyboard parts and fairly calm guitars.

Three of the seven tracks clock around 10 minutes, two are about half that time and "Lost" tops them all, with nearly 20 minutes. These lengthy songs are keyboard dominated, but also some really great guitar solos, showing McCabe is an excellent guitar player. Unfortunately 20 minutes is a bit too long here and especially as there are no vocals, I lose attention half way. Maybe when playing this album in the background, while you are doing something else, would be a good idea, as then you can enjoy the music, but you don't have to keep your mind to it all the time. I really enjoyed the album, the jazzy touches, the acoustic parts and the great keyboard arrangements, but without the vocals, I can only listen to it for some time.

Anhedonia is a quality album, with good songs, two excellent musicians and outstanding production. So if they would just add a good vocalist, I think their music would be much more interesting than it is now, although I have to say I did enjoy the album very much. On their website you can find some samples, so I do suggest you listen to them and judge for yourselves. If instrumental music is your thing, this is one of the better instrumental prog / sympho albums. If you're not to keen on [that], listen to the samples first, to get a better idea of the music.

[This review originally appeared June 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
The Gateway / The Other Side / When Hearts Meet / When Sparks Fly / Desperate Hours Alone / Lost / I will Always Be You

Steve McCabe - multi-instrumentalist
Christopher Knight - drums, drum programming

Improper Advances (1992)
Nocturnal Implications (1992)
Blinded By Time (1993)
Inside The Hurting (1994)
Crying To The Future (1994)
Endless Longing (1994)
Natural Instinct (1995)
The Nature Of Change (1996)
Reversal Of Time (1997)
Purity And Despair (1998)
Moments Of Clarity (1999)
The Story Of Our Lives 2000)
Palindrome (2001)
Architect Of Light (2002)
Aquatorium (2004)
Anhedonia (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin UK

Added: December 5th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.elegantsimplicity.com
Hits: 1013
Language: english


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