Bezar, Emily - Four Walls Bending

Year of Release: 1999
Label: DemiVox Records
Catalog Number: DVX799
Format: CD
Total Time: 55:43:00

A look at any of the press that Emily Bezar's release Four Walls Bending has garnered, at least one name crops up invariably: Kate Bush. And for good reason. Bezar has that same kind of voice that at first says vulnerability (tone), but also that there is untold strength behind it (words and intent). It's not a description that words find easily, as one must either be already familiar with Kate Bush to understand what I mean, or be similarly voiced. Bezar's voice is gentle, often times ethereal. Other names that will come to mind are Tori Amos and, on occasions, at least to me, Annie Haslem (Renaissance), though Bezar's has a greater richness. It is the voice of the heroine in a tragic romantic tale that soldiers on despite the odds - where those about her treat her with kid gloves only to find they are the ones that break.

But, this isn't voice alone. While Bezar says that her music "isn't progressive rock in a classic sense," Bezar's playing will bring to mind such "classic" progressive artists as Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman (I hear more of the former than the latter, especially in "Kingdom Come"). Though, the arrangements also warrant some occasional comparisons with recent Porcupine Tree and Marillion, to name but two that come immediately to (my) mind. But don't be led to think that Emily Bezar is in any way a neo-prog artist.

Bezar is not only vocalist and songwriter here, but pianist, keyboardist and programmer. Guitarist Morris Acevedo, bassist Andrew Higgins, and drummer Steve Rossi round out the sound. A word about Rossi: a wide ranging and dynamic use of the drum kit - I first thought of Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater during "Kingdom" (!). There are more than just hints at jazz as well, and I'm suddenly thinking of Italian and French progressive music. Given that Bezar spent some time in Europe, perhaps that's not too surprising.

Bezar's keyboard style includes moments where the notes lope across the melody, like dancers leaping across a stage. That draws out another element of the music here, the drama of it. Not melodrama, not a feeling that is inflated, for Bezar is far too subtle for that. This is the drama of a single moment, when the actors on the stage seem to freeze for a moment, a moment that speaks more volumes than any dialog can express. The story between the story - the subtext of the characters in the scene. With Bezar's operatic background, none of this seems surprising either.

Like some of the best progressive music out there, the arrangements are rich tapestries of sound, not all apparent on the first listen. A bit of percussion here and there, a keyboard phrase, a shimmering guitar riff - all stray bits of thread missed at distance, brilliant additives when examined up close. This is a tight and well coordinated quartet in the jazz tradition.

Bezar seems most like Bush to me during the title track. Most of the music here reflects her thoughts and feelings after the birth of her first child in 1997. Bezar notes: "Much of this album was written while I was either high on pregnancy hormones or in a semi-lucid haze of sleep-deprivation. At first I was afraid to publish any music from this period 'cause I felt that I was so newly altered [?] but art is most true when it's from the trenches?"

For those who view music in artistic terms, and for most fans of progressive music, that is the case, you should add Emily Bezar to your listening palette. And, this review shouldn't end without failing to note Bezar's highly poetic writing style, which is highlighted by symbolic and impressionistic turns of phrase.

Velvet Eye (7:38) / Kingdom Come (5:02) / Four Walls Bending (6:11) / Lead (4:41) / Filigree Of Noon (4:16) / Sigh (6:05) / Maybe So (4:37) / Black Sand (6:41) / Rondo (4:46) / His Everything (6:56)

Emily Bezar - voice, piano, keyboards and sound programming
Morris Acevedo - guitar
Andrew Higgins - bass
Steve Rossi - drums

Grandmother's Tea Leaves (1993)
Moon In Grenadine (1997)
Four Walls Bending (1999)
Angel's Abacus (2004)
Exchange (2008)

Genre: Rock

Origin US

Added: February 1st 2000
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website:
Hits: 1604
Language: english


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