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RPWL - 2014 - "Wanted"

(61:46, Gentle Art of Music)


1.  Revelation 5:17
2.  Swords and Guns 8:42
3.  A Short Cut Line 2:56
4.  Wanted 4:28
5.  Hide and Seek 5:08
6.  Disbelief 6:10
7.  Misguided Thought 6:07
8.  Perfect Day 6:18
9.  The Attack 11:06
10. A New Dawn 5:34


Yogi Lang  vocals; keyboards
Kalle Wallner  guitars 
Marc Turiaux  drums 
Werner Taus  bass 
Markus Jehle  keyboards, piano

Prolusion. The German band RPWL, led by vocalist Yogi Land and guitarist Kalle Wallner, is fast approaching a solid veteran status with a history going back 17 years or thereabouts. During that time they have issued just about a dozen of releases, live albums, DVDs and compilation discs included. "Wanted" is their sixth studio production, and was released through Lang and Wallner's Gentle Art of Music label in March 2014.

Analysis. Elegant, atmospheric progressive rock that generally has either been described as neo progressive rock or as Pink Floyd influenced material has been the calling card of this German band, at least if various critics are to be believed. And while the former is still an aspect that does fit their latest album fairly well, the latter isn't much of a presence on this occasion. As has been the case ever since this constellation of RPWL started releasing music. There's still plenty of tantalizing atmospheres to enjoy, mind you, with playful electronics, guitars and mournful Mellotrons kicking off this disc in an intriguing manner with the instrumental Revelation. The following Swords and Guns continues with strong and distinct atmospheres, featuring a bass and Mellotron driven verse passage, later on also repeated in a more electronics oriented manner, elegant keyboards utilized as the key effect for the lead up to the chorus and a dark, brooding chant used as the chorus itself. With the sound of soldiers marching emphasizing the fairly grim lyrical topic of this song. Personally I found the instrumental passage to be perhaps a tad too long on this composition, but the single edit of it the band recently released is one that deserves playtime on FM radio. That is something of a defining trait for this production in general I think, that there's a number of compositions here that are accessible and well suited for radio airplay. Title track Wanted is among the better examples there, with a nice buildup to a strong chorus with distinct singalong character to it, and the following Hide and Seek with its Deep Purple-flavored sound wouldn't be out of place on a classic rock oriented radio station. Those fond of Floydian oriented excursions will get their fill on Disbelief, while Misguided Thought brings us back to accessible paths of a somewhat different character again with a visible, driving bass guitar foundation as one of the key elements in a song alternating between frail and more elaborate arrangements in a neat manner that will make it interesting for a progressive rock inclined audience as well. Those who prefer their progressive rock rather more sophisticated and of the epic length variety will most likely herald the qualities of The Attack I guess, still listener friendly by all means but longer and with more variety, and when A New Dawn appears it is in the shape of what I'd describe as a ballad oriented Floydian excursion, one that opens in a careful manner and then develops into a more elaborate construction. A nice manner in which to conclude this CD.

Conclusion. RPWL as of 2014 is a band that appears to focus on two aspects of their repertoire that perhaps are slightly at odds with each other: accessible but sophisticated compositions, listener friendly songs with plenty of them well suited to mainstream and classic rock airplay but still maintaining the use of multiple themes and contrasting sequences. As this is the second album in a row that explores a conceptual story, and these are the only ones RPWL have made that do just that, it would appear that this is a second focus area for the band, which at least for some will be somewhat at odds with the aforementioned accessible and radio friendly description. Those fond of accessible progressive rock explored within a conceptual context are the obvious key audience as seen from the perspective of this website.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: April 7, 2014
The Rating Room

Related Links:

Gentle Art of Music Records


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