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TRACK LIST: 1. A Promise 1:24 2. Aimless 4:23 3. State of Mind 5:41 4. Back 3:08 5. Eneme 5:50 6. Drowned 6:16 7. On the Run 6:11 8. Thaw Me 5:06 9. Cu in the Real World 3:39 10. Crash 7:15 11. Joy and Misery 4:19 12. Wasted 6:14 LINEUP: Erik Kuipers – bass Sanne De Meerman – guitar Andre De Vries – keyboards Petrick Glasbergen – drums Roelof Beeftink – vocals
Prolusion. The Dutch band INTENTIONS was formed in 2003, initially consisting of Kuipers, Meerman and De Vries. Beeftink and Glasbergen joined in 2006, and after this the band started developing what would eventually become their debut album in earnest. "Place in Time" was issued in the late spring of 2009, and was well received in their native Holland.
Analysis. One of the interesting aspects of writing music reviews is to compare opinions with other writers. I prefer doing so after having formed an opinion myself - so that whatever others have written about any given production doesn't reflect back on my own opinions. In this case it was hard to do just that for several reasons, first and foremost because I knew this disc had gotten quite a lot of praise elsewhere prior to me getting a reviewer's copy. When that is said, I won't join in and lavish extensive praise on this album myself. "Place in Time" does have its moments for sure, and while I don't find it to be a contender for best album of 2009 as some Dutch critics noted down, it's not a bad effort at all either. It all depends on what you're looking for in a band and in an album. Those with a keen interest in Progressive music with a capital P might not find this venture to be that interesting, and if quirky, challenging material is the main driving force behind your purchases, it's not likely that this disc will end up in your collection either. But if you're intrigued by melodic pop art of the gentler variety and you appreciate artists blending mainstream-oriented rock with elaborate touches and some sense of sophistication, you might want to read on. The compositional structures of the tracks featured on this CD are best described as ordinary. Verse and chorus parts come and go; we're treated to soloing somewhere around the midway point and the occasional bridge passage pops up, mostly in the longer pieces. Bass and drums provide a steady foundation, and the lead vocals have a dominating role throughput. Gentle, wandering guitar themes, often with a swirling touch, are a key element in the themes created, while gentle keyboard textures with symphonic touches flesh out the soundscapes. The chorus parts are generally more upbeat and energetic than the verse, and the instrumental passages tend to be a tad more richly textured to provide an additional emphasis for the guitar and keyboards first and foremost. The overall sound reminds me quite a lot of later day Sylvan, but with a more distinct pop-oriented expression and generally with less sophisticated features throughout. On a few occasions Intentions does venture out into slightly more elaborate territories though, and the main example of that is on the tenth track, Crash. This is one of the few songs featuring distorted guitars and riffs, and the dark colorations added are effectively utilized to explore a more sophisticated overall sound, stronger use of and emphasis on contrast, subtle additions of carefully distorted and chaotic sounds, and somewhat less of a focus on gentle harmonic themes in general. Tracks such as Drowned and Wasted are other examples of what this band can provide at its best, while the rest of the album most probably will have less of an appeal for a strictly progressively-oriented audience.
Conclusion. If music on the borderline between elaborated but gentle mainstream rock and pop art is something you generally appreciate, "Place in Time" by Intentions is a recording you might want to take notice of. While not adding anything new and innovative to their chosen expression, they are good at what they do, and should have a strong appeal for this specific audience. The material at hand this time around will probably find more interest amongst those with an ear for mainstream-oriented material than a strictly progressive crowd.
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