RPWL - Trying To Kiss The Sun

Year of Release: 2002
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: SPV 65172 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 58:11:00

What I found interesting about RPWL's Trying To Kiss The Sun is that in reading the band's website and Keith's review (published here), I was expecting a band that sounded a lot more like Pink Floyd than I'm actually hearing. Well, they do, but by way of Porcupine Tree. So much of the material here reminded me more of Stupid Dream than anything by Floyd. But as you listen closer, you can pick out little things here and there that are Floydian. One will also find some similarities to recent Marillion material ("You," for example, which could be from late 80s/early 90s period). None of which suggests that you can say, "oh that sounds like this or that track" in particular. Though, having said that, if you are at all familiar with Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream, you will recall that much of the album had a soft-focus edge, a kind of dreamy feel, which of course, could describe material by Pink Floyd, too (think, for example, of "Us And Them"). As they say in their bio, "a Brit-pop rock mood" is also a component, and that isn't a lie... Oasis comes to mind, although Yogi Lang is a much better vocalist than Liam Gallagher is. Lang has a deeper voice than PT vocalist Steven Wilson does, and though some compare him to David Gilmour ... I'm not hearing that exactly.

"Sugar For The Ape" is Hendrix-like acidic rock (think "Foxey Lady" and "Purple Haze") fuzzed guitars and Lang even sounds a bit like Hendrix, the guitar lead guitar licks played in that taut Hendrix style (though for a short bridge, we're back to PT). "Side By Side" is sure to be a fan favourite with it's epic feel - that is, expansive and open keyboard washes. Musically, it feels very uplifting, as the music of the choruses keeps building... and for those hopeless (and hopeful) romantics out there, here is another non-sappy, yet very sentimental anthem. It's gentle, reminding me a bit of stuff on Marillion's Brave, no less because of some female subvocalizations used here, as on Brave. But, I also think of that "suspended time" moment of "Out Of This World." Here it accomplished with keys and subtleties and the chirping of birds... quite nice, though some might find this latter part of the track a little overlong. A companion to this in terms of its anthemness (to coin a word) is "You." It is less ethereal than "Side By Side," but no less epic. And yes, in that, we can definitely name Pink Floyd as an influence (I suppose I should note that RPWL started as a PF tribute band, so this doesn't come from left field). "You" is a little more shimmery, and is exactly the kind of track I love from this corner of the progressive music world. It's a little Beatles-esque as well, but I'm not sure I can explain exactly why I say that (a pinch of both Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour is about as detailed as I can get).

Some other thoughts about the music: "Believe Me" reminds me a bit of Bowie's "Major Tom" (though also PT, of course), mainly in the acoustic guitar intro. The sci-fi keyboard effects (twiddly whoops), fuzzed guitars give this an industrial space music feels at times, too ... in contrast to the domestic space music feel of the rest of the track, I suppose (whatever I mean by that). "Sunday Morning," has a touch of America to it, which leads me to a touch of mellow Spock's Beard. A track that has an light, acoustic feel does bring forth of a country Sunday morning... though the slight touch of twangy slide guitar brings in more of that "country" feel with more hints of "Us And Them" included. Nice piano like keys here, too. "Home Again," is the perfect "end of the album/concept" track, another shimmering, Floyd/Tree-esque epic like "Side By Side" and "You" before it and makes me think a lot of "Stop Swimming" until Wallner launches into one one of those kind of guitar solos -- uh-huh, Gilmour/Rothery-like emotive leads that communicate a lot in long lovingly rendered notes.

If one reads through the lyrics, one sees a pattern begin to develop, one that makes me believe that this is a concept album, tracing the path of a relationship. Not necessarily linear, though. And nothing seems, no matter how sentimental and "awwh" inducing some of those lyrics are - yes, you guessed it -- nothing seems saccharine. What a really great album this is ... it hits all the right spots and doesn't over stay it's welcome. So yeh, it gets in to a PT/PF like groove, but it does something with it, stretches it here, pulls in there, plays around with it a bit over here... this is a band that can only get better, and then we'd really better watch out.

Released in Germany by Tempus Fugit (TF V? 07) and in North America by (the now defunct) InsideOut Music America (IOMA 2038-2)

Trying To Kiss The Sun (3:45) / Waiting For A Smile (7:04) / I Don't Know (What's It's Like) (4:32) / Sugar For The Ape (5:03) / Side By Side (8:35) / You (6:49) / Tell Me Why (5:08) / Believe Me (5:14) / Sunday Morning (4:29) / Home Again (8:52)

Yogi Lang - vocals, keyboards
Karlheinz Wallner - guitars
Phil Paul Rissettio - drums
Andreas Wernthaler - keyboards
Stephan Ebner - bass

God Has Failed (2000)
Trying To Kiss The Sun (2002)
Stock (2003)
World Through My Eyes (2005)
Live - Start The Fire (2005)
The RPWL Experience (2008)
The RPWL Live Experience (2009)
Gentle Art Of Music (2010)
Beyond Man And Time (2012)
A Show Beyond Man And Time (2013)
Wanted (2014)
RPWL Plays Pink Floyd (2015)
RPWL Plays Pink Floyd - The Man And The Journey (2016)
A New Dawn (2017)

The RPWL Live Experience (DVD) (2009)
A New Dawn (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: August 1st 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rpwl.net
Hits: 620
Language: english


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