Elegant Simplicity - The Story Of Our Lives

Year of Release: 2000
Label: Proximity Records
Catalog Number: ESCD 12
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:53:00

[This review originally appeared on the Progfreaks.com site - ed.]

Ah yes, loyal Progfreaks.com readers might recall a review of Elegant Simplicity's latest album, Palindrome, appearing a few weeks ago in our reviews section, and the fact that yours truly chose to deride the vocals on that album while appreciating the enjoyable instrumental passages and tracks that fortunately tended to dominate the rest. So imagine my surprise when I found out that Steven McCabe's previous album, The Story Of Our Lives, featured no vocals whatsoever and was instead an entirely instrumental record with a concept running behind it. You guessed right, it was the kind of surprise that one certainly appreciates.

Relying on the same mid-tempo gentility that constitutes much of Palindrome, Elegant Simplicity's twelfth album relies mostly on accessible instrumental passages that are quite homogeneous in nature, although a healthy amount of diversity is certainly not lacking throughout the album's course. Not exactly what one would call a masterpiece of moods, but nothing to find fault in either, relying basically on a keyboard-drenched approach that takes the spotlight immediately and retreats only sporadically in order to let a certain six-stringed instrument rear its ugly head. The whole thing works in a yin yang fashion though, because the album will place key passages at just the right time at one moment and then kind of spoil the fun by missing the mark at others, so that the listener feels as though one were put through a roller coaster of appreciation.

Most of the variation, however, comes from the fact that the album gets to be too mellow and quiet at times, something that a track like "It All Starts Here" suffices to demonstrate, until finally diving into heavy distorted riffs of great character ("Anguish And Betrayal") or atmospheric sonic experiments that reveal an instrumental insomnia of vanishing keyboard effects (both episodes of "Sleepless"). Perhaps not a terrible flaw, but one that does smother the effects of the album's strongest tracks and cuts the continuity of the entire record.

Elegant Simplicity fans will, of course, love The Story Of Our Lives, as it is replete with all the trademark keyboard sounds that constitute the band's distinguishing insignia, while those moments that finally leave behind the somnolent mellifluousness may very well suffice to keep everyone else interested. Even then, however, the record could have used a bit more inventiveness and surprise, and thus is in all honesty a bit below the four point mark; the good part of which derives from the excellent standout tracks that are distributed across the twelve-instrumental album, but which unfortunately fail to completely erase the memory of precious moments lost in boredom.

Similar artists: Asia, Mike Oldfield, Camel

Part I. First Meeting (2:29) / Part II. Behind the Glances: First Look (6:21) / Part III. Anguish and Betrayal (6:08) / Part IV. Fluttering Heart (1:47) / Part V. Sleepless: Episode One (4:56) / Part VI. It All Starts Here (4:53) / Part VII. Second Meeting (4:47) / Part VIII. Sleepless: Episode Two (3:12) / Part IX. In Your Presence (1:45) / Part X. Realisation (2:02) 11. Part XI. Behind the Glances: Second Look (5:13) 12. Part XII. More Than Goodbye (4:15)

Steven McCabe ? guitars, keyboards, bass, drum machines

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)
Studies In Heartbreak (2005)
Nowhere Left To Turn (2006)
Too Many Goodbyes (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: August 25th 2002
Reviewer: Marcelo Silveyra
Artist website: www.elegantsimplicity.com
Hits: 1534
Language: english


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