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TRACK LIST: 1. An Other Life 16:36 (Tenenbaum) 2. Mary 6:41 (Tenenbaum, Stortz) 3. Hold Me 11:02 (Tenenbaum, Stortz, Meadows) 4. Journal 22:41 (Tenenbaum, Naylor, M. DiMello) LINE-UP: Michael Tenenbaum - guitars; keyboards; vocals Eric Naylor - lead vocals Steve Strortz - basses Doug Meadows - drums Produced by Tenenbaum, Meadows, D. Lee, & D. Oliver. Engineered by D. Lee & D. Oliver.
Prolusion. "An Other Life" is the debut album by the Canadian quartet Akacia (I think, it's the same as Acacia).
Synopsis. The 57-minute "An Other Life" consists of four long tracks, the first and the last of which are epics of a classic sidelong nature. All the contents of the album are highly diverse, complex, and intriguing, which is in many ways due to the fact that the length of songs allows working with truly large-scaled arrangements. Although the roots of Akacia :) can be found in Classic Progressive of the 1970s and even in Rhythm & Blues of the second half of the 1960s, all the instrumental and vocal parts presented on "An Other Life" are definitely original, and the sound of the album is both marvelously vintage and yet, modern in character. Instrumental arrangements are very inventive and are always intricate regardless of whether there are vocals at the moment or not. There are little repetitions on "An Other Life", the overall musical picture of which is truly eventful. The stylistics of the album's title track and Mary (1 & 2) represents a simply amazing combination of guitar Art-Rock, symphonic Art-Rock, and Prog-Metal where a wide variety of different musical directions change each other almost kaleidoscopically, and all the complex stop-to-play movements are done exclusively with the use of the odd meters. In fact, each track on the album has everything necessary to immediately seize the listener's attention and keep it up till its completion. And a blend of both of the guitar and symphonic kinds of Art-Rock with elements of Prog-Metal, Jazz-Fusion, and Rhythm & Blues that is presented on both of the other songs: Hold Me and Journal, is hardly less impressive than a stylistics that the first two tracks on the album are about. All of the Akacia members, and especially the main mastermind behind the band, Michael Tenenbaum, who handles all the guitars (electric, semi-acoustic, and acoustic) and keyboards (organ, piano, and synthesizer) on the album, show the miracles of tastefulness and mastery while performing their parts both separately and in the joint arrangements.
Conclusion. All four of the songs that Akacia presented on their first official album are very strong and are absolute masterpieces. And what is more, I will dare to say that "An Other Life" is by many positions on par with those Progressive Rock masterworks of the 1970s that are universally recognized as the gold fund of the genre.
VM: June 13, 2003
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