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(51:11, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Right Through Me 2:47 2. Prodigy Composers 4:05 3. Ghostwriter 4:04 4. Snapshot 4:19 5. Early Bird 3:28 6. In Satellites 2:36 7. I Have a Place for You on Google Earth 7:41 8. Interspheres Atmospheres 4:36 9. State of the Divine 3:24 10. Soapbubbles in the Rain 4:38 11. The Far out Astronaut 3:50 12. Tear Down the Walls 5:43 LINEUP: Christoph Hessler Ц vocals Thomas Zipner Ц guitars Sebastian Wagner Ц bass Moritz Muller Ц drums
Prolusion. The German quartet THE INTERSPHERE was formed in 2006, and issued their debut effort "sobp" the same year. Since then they have been an active item in the European concert circuit, with up to 100 live performances yearly. "Interspheres Atmospheres" is their sophomore effort, and was issued in early autumn 2010.
Analysis. The Intersphere is one of those bands that will stimulate discussions in the progressive rock community, where the topic covered will be the eternal question of what progressive rock actually is? Those who grew up and became fascinated by the style in its heyday will most likely argue that we're dealing with a mainstream-oriented rock band here, as they most likely won't find any musical or compositional reference to any of the good old artists they hold dear on this production. Younger fans of progressive music might object, as there are references to bands they will be more familiar with, their US record label name-dropping Muse as one such act. In short: we're dealing with a band taking quite a lot of cues from the world of indie and alternative rock in this particular case. Short, concise and highly melodic compositions that are distinctly mainstream in structure are the name of the game on this effort, and the lead vocals play a vital role in the proceedings. The use of contrasting elements is a distinct feature throughout, be it relatively mellow verses followed by harder-hitting, energetic chorus parts or songs with a mellow opening half and a pacier and more intense second part, or vice versa. Energetic drums and wandering melodic bass lines underscore the proceedings nicely, the latter reminding me of U2 in the mellower passages explored and the aforementioned Muse when the songs are at their most hectic. The guitars share the limelight with the lead vocals by way of light wandering licks or gentle resonating riff bursts in the most atmospheric passages and intense light riff bursts or cascades in the more dramatic sequences. References to indie-inspired bands are multiple for the six stringer, with further references to punk as far as overall playing style is concerned. Or perhaps post-punk might be a better description of the staccato bursts used in a start-to-stop manner or as continuously moving cascades. Spread out throughout this production in liberal portions is one additional feature: swirling guitar textures of a post-rock nature, often dampened and placed in the back of the mix, seemingly spiraling upwards into distant galaxies. As far as originality is concerned, The Intersphere doesn't really break any new ground. Taking their stylistic expression and evolving it closer to a progressive rock-oriented expression is a daring move, however, and it should be interesting to see how intrigued progressive rock fans will be by this album. Other than that, the songs are of good quality, as long as their chosen stylistic territory is one deemed interesting. They come across as a tight unit too, one whose members know each other well and are able to play upon their individual strengths with apparent ease.
Conclusion. Short, concise and mainstream-oriented material with an emphasis on mood and melody is what The Intersphere has to offer, with nods in the direction of acts like Muse and Radiohead as far as progressive rock references go, and U2 and The Police as examples of other bands that most likely have been influential Ц liberally spiced with post-rock-inspired guitar textures as the main sophisticated feature. Those who find such a description tantalizing will most likely enjoy this production; others should probably approach it with a bit of caution. In short: contemporary indie and alternative-inspired art rock, arguably with less emphasis on the last style mentioned.
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