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(75:47; Melodic Revolution Records)
Over the last few years I have been lucky enough to be able hear albums from both Peter Matuchniak and Steve Bonino which had otherwise passed me by, and here is yet another which includes both of them. The gig at Alvas Showroom in San Pedro, California, on 28th December 2014 was both recorded and videoed, and is available in both formats although here I have just the album. It contains sixteen songs, eleven of which appeared on Peter’s album ‘Destiny’ which had been released earlier that year. Although Peter has been living in America for many years, he will always be a Londoner at heart and still sounds inherently British and could never be confused by anyone to be anything but (I am a proud Kiwi, have lived in NZ for nearly 13 years, am a full citizen, yet still sound as if I got off the boat yesterday). From his school days when he formed Janysium and later Mach One, he has a reputation for delivering class songs no matter the format, and that is very much the case here. He has gathered together key musicians which allows him to flex his wings and he pointedly refuses to sit within any particular genre but moves from one style to another, blending and mixing and taking the listeners on a journey. There are times when it is quite Floydian with ‘Dark Side of The Moon’ style female vocals, others it does move into more American territory with Utopia as a reference, but for the most part this is good old fashioned English rock that feels far more Seventies than recent times. The use of a sax in this environment adds warmth and depth, beautiful piano runs adds to the diversity, while having multiple singers allows both for harmonies and for different people to take leads which all adds to the complexity and contrasting styles and emotions. Yes, Peter can rock when he wants to (take sections of “Product” for example), but this album is all about restraint and hitting the groove. In some ways it feels like a very high-quality bootleg, as this has not been tampered with or “improved” so when there is the odd duff note it has stayed, and that for me is what a live album is all about. For anyone who has yet to hear it (and there must be a few as I had to add it to his listing on ProgArchives), then jump over to Bandcamp and see what I am talking about, purchase it and get a free digital copy of the video as well, What are you waiting for?
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