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(41:30 / Poseidon & Musea Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Rosetta 6:49 2. Man From the Forest 8:36 3. Dayflower-III 6:29 4. Heliopause 6:15 5. Alive 7:07 6. Anonymous 6:12 LINEUP: Kenji Tanaka - el. & ac. guitars Sayuri Aruga - vocals Dani - bass Katsu Sato - drums Nobuo Watanabe - keyboards
Prolusion. Japan's INTERPOSE are back with their sophomore release, "Indifferent". Since the issue of the outfit's eponymous debut album in 2005, their lineup has undergone some changes. Nobuo Watanabe and Dani replaced keyboardist Ryuji Yonekura and bass player Toshiyuki Koike respectively, veteran musician Dani (he played with KBB and some other Japanese bands before joining Interpose) appearing to be one of the primary songwriters - along with the quintet's originator, guitarist Kenji Tanaka.
Analysis. While fearing to appear to be opinionated, I feel satisfied that in my review of the first Interpose CD I haven't ignored the fact that the band rarely shine with diversity in the vocal sections of that album, otherwise much more often venturing on genuinely progressive maneuvers. It seems the payers have learned the lesson well, as they are tireless in weaving intricate patterns this time around, soloing nearly ceaselessly, plus in a very resourceful way, regardless of whether there is concurrent singing. Anyhow, instrumental arrangements cover more than a half of each the recording's six tracks. The sole piece where the group never exceeds the bounds of Symphonic Progressive, Alive, is at the same time the only one track that finds Interpose re-discovering some alien terrain. To be more precise, there is certain common ground between Alive and The Lights Die Down On Broadway by Genesis, and although the resemblance is only striking in the piano and synthesizer passages, Nobuo Watanabe displays his skill in imitating Tony Banks almost throughout, his keyboards generally appearing at the fore more often than the other instruments. All in all, this composition is still another excellent tour-de-force into the heyday of the genre (a lost paradise?) and is on a par with any of the others, no matter that, unlike it, they all depict the band playing in their own, highly original style. Apart from the keyboards mentioned, all the yet-to-be-named pieces are also rich in organ patterns, though it is only the third track, Dayflower-III, where Watanabe figures also somewhat more prominently than his partners, otherwise commonly sharing the lead with both Kenji Tanaka and Dani. As hinted above, the entire recording has a certain '70s feeling, but Dayflower-III seems to be simply imbued with the spirit of vintage Progressive. The point is that this is the only track in the set where the Mellotron (as also the acoustic guitar) is deployed on a really grand scale, otherwise appearing occasionally at most. This is an intricate multi-sectional composition that falls squarely into the classic symphonic art-rock idiom, as also does Rosetta, but only on its instrumental level, inasmuch as Sayuri Aruga tends to sing in a jazzier manner here, this remark being relevant to all the remaining three pieces as well. Besides, one of those, Man From the Forest, belongs exclusively to Jazz-Fusion, remotely resembling a cross between Brand X and Return To Forever, while on the other two, Heliopause and Anonymous, the band slides between the said genre and Symphonic Progressive, with ease jumping from style to style, though never blending the corresponding structures together. Unlike such of their countrymen as Ain Soph or Lu7, Interpose obviously don't set themselves the task of reducing the angle between various directions, but no one will blame them for being the wrong men for their job, as they're in their element in everything they do.
Conclusion. "Indifferent" can serve as a perfect model of how a band should mature after, say, being initiated into the prog-rock society. A kind of near-unending musical force majeure, possessing whatsoever a true progressive heart desires, this is in all senses an excellent album, signifying to the experienced listener that its makers are only a step away from becoming one of the strongest Japanese acts in the history of the genre.
VM: September 5, 2007
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