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Neverness - 2010 - "The Measure of Time"

(60:12, Musea Records)


*****
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Behind Your Face 11:36
2.  The Measure of Time 7:23
3.  The Letter 9:15
4.  Reing of Fools 10:35
5.  Rest in Pieces 11:01
6.  Shadows of the Past 11:07

LINEUP:

Javier Nieto  guitars; vocals
V?ctor P?rez  keyboards 
Dino Mart?n  bass 
Antol?n Olea  drums

Prolusion. The Spanish band NEVERNESS was formed back in 1998, and four years later their debut effort "Horizonte de Sucesos" saw the light of day. A few line-up alterations followed prior to the release of second effort "Cuentos de Otros Mundos Posibles" in 2007. "The Measure of Time" is the third full-length effort by Neverness, and was released by Musea Records in 2009.

Analysis. One of the more popular sounds explored by artists for the past three decades is the one that brought Pink Floyd fame and fortune in the second half of the 1970s, blending spacey sounds with symphonic textures in relatively easygoing compositions, sporting engaging melodies and mood-filled motifs and guitar soloing. Neverness is another addition to this tradition. In this case we're dealing with a band that uses this sound as a foundation, venturing out from it towards other stylistic traditions rather than staying put within it. While one of the more immediate aspects of Neverness' efforts is their tendency to incorporate a stronger symphonic element to their compositions, a slightly less utilized dimension added in as the compositions evolve are lightly distorted and dissonant guitar riffs and soloing, and, as usual when encountering guitars utilizing such effects, associations with and references to King Crimson and Robert Fripp's groundbreaking explorations are hard to avoid. And the blend of these two directions is at best an intriguing experience too, providing lots of ear candy, but also sporting motifs intriguing for those with a taste for material of a somewhat more challenging nature. The next step in the compositional development of Neverness is the inclusion of riffs referencing 70s hard rock, often backed by surging organ textures. And while it's tempting to draw comparisons to Deep Purple, I often found the overall sound in these parts to be closer to Hawkwind and at times Eloy in expression when these flavors are added to the compositions. The latter probably due to the wandering bass guitar, often utilized for the harder-edged, energetic passages. The compositions develop pretty much in a set pattern, where each of these rather different styles is given a set amount of the piece in which to dominate, culminating in one or more sequences at the end where the different flavors are evenly blended, often in driving, energetic themes leading up to a grand finale. The album as such is a mixed affair. The best and most intriguing motifs are explored on the opening three tracks. But while the ideas and creativity are well utilized on these numbers, the compositions don't quite manage to make the grade, at least not in a fulfilling manner to my tastes. The themes and motifs explored tend to not transition over to the following ones. No drum fills, synth textures or even bass theme leading from one part to the next, the band instead opting for a curious start-and-stop approach, which breaks momentum partially or completely. The following three efforts are much more coherent as far as structure goes, the transitional phases seemingly improving more and more the closer one gets to the end of the CD. The melodies, moods and motifs taken on in the second half aren't as engaging however, and while these efforts come across as more coherent and solid, they are also on the verge of being anonymous at times. Good quality musicianship in general and a highly pleasing lead vocalist in the person of Javier Nieto provide extra positives throughout, with high quality mix and production another positive trait to this recording.

Conclusion. While I did find "The Measure of Time" to be a somewhat mixed affair personally, I can see many enjoying their brand of late 70s Pink Floydian sounds blended with the quirkier guitar traditions of King Crimson and surging 70s hard rock. And it is always a welcome experience to find a band trying to reach outside of a given stylistic expression. If you find the prospect of a stylistic blend as described interesting, this latest effort by Neverness is most likely one you will enjoy, with the final three tracks, each of them epic-length creations, arguably the ones most likely to impress.

OB=Olav M Bjornsen: Septemb 25, 2010
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records
Neverness


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