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(41:51, Emkog Records)
Prolusion. The US-based project ALL OVER EVERYWHERE is the brainchild of composer and instrumentalist Trinna Kesner, with music and concepts mainly developed by her over the years. But they didn't get the chance to unfold until 2007. At that point in time she got in touch with Dan Britton (Cerebus Effect, Birds And Buildings, Deluge Grander) who liked her concepts and lent a helping hand in getting them realized. The end result of this collaboration was released on Britton's label Emkog Records in the summer of 2010 as the album "Inner Firmaments Decay".
TRACK LIST: 1. Art of the Earth 4:13 2. Endless Night 3:18 3. The Shroud 5:40 4. Honesty 4:29 5. After All the Years 6:57 6. On a Dark Street 3:08 7. Until the Sun Begins to Fall 3:32 8. Gratitude 10:34 LINEUP: Trinna Kesner – guitars; viola, violin Dan Britton – keyboards; guitars Natalie Hughes – cello; bass Jennifer La Platnia – piano; accordion; vibes Megan Wheatley – vocals Kelli Short – oboe Brian Falkowski – flute, clarinet Ignacio Cruz – zither; dulcimer; guitars Scott Robinson – percussion Pat Gaffney – drums
Analysis. Back in the days when the vinyl album ruled the world of music, the expression "an album of two halves" was first coined, meaning either that the respective sides of the production sounded rather different from each other or that one of the sides was markedly better than the other. This initial effort by All Over Everywhere can to some extent be said to fall into such a category. In this case the variety isn't as evenly spread, however, as this is a case of 7 tracks adhering to one style and one track heading into rather different territories. The fact that this final track clocks in at just over 10 minutes does warrant that a distinction be made. The opening 7 numbers all take on a somewhat unique stylistic expression, combining classical and folk music influences and textures with subtle elements from the world of rock music, almost but not quite in a manner that can be described as chamber rock, where the missing ingredient for the latter is, in fact, rock. The bass guitar is very much present and both organ and Mellotron are utilized in these excursions, unless I'm much mistaken, but it is the plethora of acoustic instruments that dominates in rich, multiple layers of sounds and textures – melodic and harmonic in scope, dream-filled and beautiful music to a much greater extent than boundary-breaking and challenging. The overall mood is one of sadness and melancholy, and a distinctive trait is the lack of drums on most pieces, with careful use of other percussion, strengthening the rhythmic qualities of the bass and piano as the main choices in the rhythms department. Final effort Gratitude is to some extent made of the same building blocks, but on this epic composition art rock of the symphonic manner is added to the mix. Drums get a prominent place in the proceedings, keyboards of various sorts get a more dominant placement in the mix as well as in the composition as such, and the electric guitar provides both riffs and soloing passages in this rich and majestic symphonic rock excursion. Blended with the acoustic instruments, this results in a haunting and at times driven song that should please most of those who followed this genre in its heyday. When that is said, there are a few elements to this album that will alienate listeners. The distinctly analogue sound to some extent, and the lo-fi mix and production very much more. I assume that the recording locations and the source material available had limited the options available when this disc was assembled, at least that would explain why the lead vocals are given a much more limited placement than needed and that the overall sound appears to be convoluted and circumscribed. Tastes differ, and I can see that many will be charmed by this lo-fi approach, but personally I think that a high quality recording, mix and production would have made this album much more interesting than it is. The material is strong after all, and in a world where The Transsiberian Orchestra sells a rather large amount of CDs, there should be a commercial spot available for a similar band without the metal flirtation.
Conclusion. The blend of folk, classical and art rock of the vintage symphonic school is an intriguing and engaging one on final number Gratitude, which is the major sales point of "Inner Firmaments Decay". But the chamber rock-tinged efforts that precede the track aren't too shabby either and should find a receptive audience amongst those who enjoy melodic ventures of that nature. A taste for analogue-sounding production and what appears to be somewhat of a lo-fi approach is in order though, and those addicted to slick, digital high-end productions may be put off by that particular facet of this venture.