Believe - Hope To See Another Day

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Galileo Records
Catalog Number: GR009
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

If you were to listen to "Seven Days" in isolation, you'd peg Believe as another 90s-era Marillion clone, so close to Steve Hogarth's is Tomek R?życki's voice that you'd think it were a track left off This Strange Engine or Afraid Of Sunlight. But that would be misleading because although there are other points where Hogarth is recalled, for the most part, Believe do not sound like Marillion. If "Seven Days" were the vocal aspect of 90s Marillion, musically, in parts, the reference is "Don't Tell Me," a piece that starts out much sunnier and poppier than the rest of the track reveals (or in fact, the whole album reveals) - highlights are the jazzier percussion elements heard at the piece's peak.

Believe is the band guitarist Mirek Gil formed after a short stint with Collage offshoot Satellite (and, I think, after the shortlived Mr. Gil, but perhaps that is still a going concern ? ). Hope To See Another Day is their 2006 debut release and is an album that is often heavier and punchier than neo-prog, but not as heavy as some of their contemporaries - they're not Threshold either, let's say. Guitars and drums are prominent in the mix, leaving vocals and keyboards as secondary (but in no way hidden) elements. When R?życki isn't doing his Hogarth impersonation, his voice is ? well, I find it a bit scratchy. Mostly on the opener, "What Is Love?" No, don't think of that Haddaway song made infamous by Chris Kattan and Will Farrell's SNL skid. This is, however, an at-times slinky piece. I do like the sweet sounding violin here and some of Gil's guitar textures, and the groove, but?

I'll be honest, most of this album is just ok. It's not awful, but it doesn't excite me to hyperbole or even a few clicks away from hyperbole either. Now, the performance isn't bad but ? it doesn't seem inspired throughout. The best elements are Gil's guitar and the violin from Satomi. The tracks that stand out most for me are the middle trio of pieces (tracks 4-6) with the centerpiece being "Seven Days" - and not just because of the Hogarthy-ness, but also yes, because of that. But also because the vocals take on a greater life not really heard to this point. Guitars churn away behind, led often by a Gil's soaring guitar, a style and tone that reminds one of that first Satellite album. Gil lets loose here with an aggressive solo? It's a signature moment for the band.

One of the other tracks that grabs my attention is "Pain," which introduces this troika. It's an interesting track, mellow and moody, it is one where the elements seem in balance; it's seductive in many ways, slinky. Spanish guitar plucks out a warm arpeggio as vocals slither in. It's a torchy piece, lit in the amber glow of candlelight. Oh, there's also a strong classic, or iconic, Pink Floyd feel here, in elements other than Gil's languid soloing. No, Floyd is drawn in by the breathy backing vocals and the blanket of keyboards that sit back in the mix - felt, but not imposing, and the whole acoustic nature of the piece. It's not the psychedelic Floyd, but the dreamy Floyd?

And finally, to close out the trio, we get the interesting, attractive, opening moments (first two-and-half minutes) of "Coming Down," where punchy, "tribal" percussion sets the tone. It has the potential to be really something, but this potential is tamped down, with droney vocals that aren't droney enough to create an atmospheric feeling, and not energetic enough to not be droney. Too soon this becomes just another rock tune, the drums falling into a more expected rock pattern. Let's say, it doesn't live up to the strut of the percussion and the sharps blades of the guitar solos. It might have been an interesting duet between Gil and Vlodi Tafel (drums), as that's what we get at the end of the track ? but the middle part gets stuck in a rut. Not a horrible rut, but a pedestrian rut (a walkway?). Funnily enough, listening to the track again after some time away, the vocals don't seem quite unfitting as I first thought?

The epic title track closes the album. Here also we find a nice balance between heavy guitars and percussion with a hint of violin adding an element of drama. As I said at the outset, Believe are punchy and never more so than here, literally listening to the punctuation from the percussion. It's a tough track; that is R?życki sings in a husky, ballsy manner - especially when he sings at first "I'm a boozer not a lover," and later "I'm a loser not a lover" -- probably all said with glass of whisky or vodka waving in the air. Although somehow we can't really see him as brut (that would require, I think, a gravelly voice a la AC/DC's Brian Johnson). But when you start off a song with the lyric "Was a good-looking boy / Now I piss my pants," I can't help but see a grizzled and frightful-looking Nick Nolte or Mickey Rourke, you know. (And maybe that because had a week or so ago a photo essay of celebs who've let themselves go).

"Hope To See?" is broken into three segments, the first rocky as described above -- here we've a lush who's hit the bottom of the glass but determined to sober up. The second part is even rockier, in a Deep Purple kind of way, as "Highway Star" flitted across my mind for a moment, although it is contiguous to the first part -- the visuals are some what disturbing - perhaps obsessive over his girl in his liquid fixation. Another searing guitar solo from Gil. The third segment is a bit more jazzy initially, toe-tappingly so, adding in some tinkily piano -- lyrically it's pleading, an attempt at reconciliation? I don't know. I do like the whole musical vibe of this piece, but I think Fish does this "fellow with a liquid fixation" much better, makes his "poor sod" appealing and uh?someone you want to have a drink with. Believe's protagonist might really need something more than AA. Just my take.

It may be misleading to say I hear the Beatles in their music, but there's something in "Liar" that made me think of the Beatles, and of John Lennon in particular. It has something to do with the vocal treatment about mid-way through the track where we get some delay. And add in the raspiness of R?życki's voice. Oh, it's certainly heavier than the Beatles, as you'll get crunchy guitars and crashing drums, and it is far from being a pop tune. It's a dark piece? about what appears to be a tainted meal. And ode to some badly prepared fast food perhaps? Or perhaps something even grimmer than that and what, exactly, he has made a meal of? (I think the latter, actually). I should also say that "Pain" has some hints of The Beatles as well.

And just a final note -- "Needles In My Brain" is only one part great - Gil's soloing, and some violin passages that made me think of the Firefly series' title music. There is the sense of the epic that we do find in Marillion's early to mid-period work, that which also references Pink Floyd in the open and soaring guitar phrases from Gil.

Incidentally, they did see another day, as 2008 saw the release of their second disc, Yesterday Is A Friend and the live DVD Hope To See Another Day Live, which came out in September of this year.

What Is Love (7:39) / Needles In My Brain (5:18) / Liar (6:57) / Pain (5:14) / Seven Days (6:09) / Coming Down (6:04) / Don't Tell Me (5:29) / Hope To See Another Day (12:11)

Mirek Gil - guitars
Tomek R?życki - vocals, backing vocals, guitars
Adam Milosz - keyboards, hidden harmonies
Przemek Zawadzki - bass
Vlodi Tafel - drums, percussion
Satomi - violin
Robert Sieradzki - voice and lyrics

Hope To See Another Day (2006)
Yesterday Is A Friend (2008)
This Bread Is Mine (2009)

Hope To See Another Day Live (DVD) (2008)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin PL

Added: November 30th 2008
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1089
Language: english


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