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(75:25, Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Overture 2:30 2. Tears of a Clown 8:10 3. Cold & Happy 8:49 4. Wasted 6:41 5. A Celebration 15:22 6. Pouring Rain 6:27 7. Hovering 13:06 8. After All 14:20 LINEUP: Amirouche Ali Benali – guitars Philippe Benabes – keyboards Didier Pegues – drums; piano Aymeric Delteil – bass Elise Bruckert – violin Jack Daly – vocals With: Bruno Pegues – guitars Lucie Lemauff – backing vocals Marie Lemauff – backing vocals Lou Prigent – backing vocals
Prolusion. The French act EYE 2 EYE, previously known as Eye To Eye, was formed in 2003 by musicians formerly of outfits & (And) and Limelight. Its debut album “One in Every Crowd” was issued by Musea Records in 2006 to positive critical acclaim. Following a few line-up changes the band started working on their sophomore effort in 2008 and in February 2009 “After All” was released.
Analysis. When a band name acts like Marillion, Pendragon and Genesis as major influences, most followers of progressive music will know what's in store, namely the stylistic expression known as Neo-Progressive. A sound that pleases many is shunned by others and by some is regarded as a lesser form of progressive music. Eye 2 Eye comes across as a pretty typical representative of this style. The compositions are long, several of epic length. Disharmonies and dissonances are shunned, and the technically challenging aspects of this production are few and far between. But if rich harmonies of a symphonic nature suit your taste, you don't mind the use of contemporary keyboards and have a soft spot for strong melodies and rich atmospheres – this outfit should be just what you're looking for. Melodic guitar patterns are the central aspect for most parts of this venture, undistorted wandering patterns the preferred expression, but with subdued riffs or drawn out heavy ones underscoring on select occasions. Atmospheric guitar soloing with a nod or two in the direction of players like David Gilmour and Steve Rothery are served up as well – always melodic and rarely of a technical nature. Rich synth and keyboard patterns add a gentle yet often big and epic sound to the proceedings, while a steady rhythm is dished out by drums and bass. A careful vocal delivery courtesy of Jack Daly suits this musical palette perfectly, and violinist Elise Bruckert adds some neat touches with her instrument when called upon – mostly of a subtle nature, strengthening the atmospheric elements of the passage where her performance is added in. As typical of the genre as this album is, it still manages to come across with a strong identity. In a subset of progressive rock known to produce many derivative sounding outfits, Eye 2 Eye is among the ones that mostly manage to avoid sounding like clones of one or more other outfits. There are many similarities to be found to other purveyors of a similar sound though, so while not a derivative effort as such this act isn't expanding the musical parameters of this type of music either.
Conclusion. “After All” is a strong sophomore effort by this French act. It is a typical example of the stylistic expression coined Neo Progressive, with well made and well performed compositions that should please most if not all followers of the genre, and should appeal to people with a general interest in melodic, symphonic oriented progressive rock as such.
OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 17, 2009
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