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(53 min, GEP)
TRACK LIST: 1. Here They Come 1:45 2. God Bless America 3:11 3. Well Outta That 4:50 4. Ten Years 5:52 5. Last Line 4:23 6. Julia 5:33 7. Therapy 7:06 8. Every Second Counts 5:16 9. Tumbleweeds 3:38 10. Gone 6:01 11. Goodbye 5:24 All music & lyrics: by Thorne. Produced by R Aubrey & Thorne. LINEUP: Steve Thorne - guitars, bass; vocals; keyboards, percussion Tony Levin - Stick & bass Nick D'Virgilio - drums Geoff Downes - keyboards Martin Orford - keyboards John Jowitt - bass Paul Cook - drums Chris Christey - drums Gary Chandler - guitar Arnie Cottrell - mandolin Liz Allen - backing vocals
Prolusion. "Emotional Creations: Part One" is the debut CD by English multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and composer Steve THORNE. However, Steve isn't a novice on the scene, and his performance authority is so high that he managed to gather a real supergroup for his first recording adventure. Apart from the last two names in the lineup above, the others are certainly well known to Prog lovers.
Analysis. As I subconsciously expected, the lyrics turned out to be an important part of the album. Their author pretends to be an explorer of human souls, emphasizing negative sides of the being of young men or, which takes place more often, women. Drug addiction, inner imbalance and the feel of the world and its history's imperfectness are the central topics, but while Steve's social protest reveals itself usually in a latent form (with no irony though), some of his political views are delivered with a discouraging plainness. No comments. It will take too much time if I continue describing the lyrics in detail. Steve's vocals as such, out of the lyrical context, are emotionally expressive and well match with the music, which combines original sound with the influence of the classic Steve Hogarth-era Marillion and is stylistically pretty uniform throughout the album. Well, the opening instrumental, Here They Come, may seem to be of another story, but it's too short to pick on it and can be viewed as part of its follow-up, God Bless America, as there is no pause between them. The music is built around Steve's vocals and passages on acoustic guitar, with light synthetic strings being in interaction with other airy keyboard patterns, and also flute solos (provided by Martin Orford, I believe), supplementing the picture. There are two more symphonic Art-Rock ballads: the last track, Goodbye, and also Tumbleweeds, both being much in the same vein. Made Again and Afraid of Sunlight by Marillion could've been easily served as prototypes for these. Overall, this is a very nice stuff, strongly united with the rest of the material, though I'd have placed Tumbleweeds somewhere in the middle of the album. Therapy is the one entirely vocals-based track, while the next one, Every Second Counts, is the only instrumental, in a true sense of the concept, and is the only up-tempo composition here. The former could've been in the right place somewhere in the middle of "Afraid of Sunlight", and the other on "Brave". The remaining five songs: Well Outta That, Ten Years, Last Line, Julia and Gone are the strongest, combining reflective music in the vocal-based sections with more adventurous stuff in the instrumental ones. At least atmospherically, they arouse associations with Marillion's The King of Sunset Town and Easter from "Seasons End", as well as with the title track of that album. Julia features an episode with the most diverse instrumental arrangements, done in a true classic Symphonic Art-Rock fashion. It also needs to be mentioned that passages of acoustic guitar are interwoven with basic textures on most if not all of the songs present.
Conclusion. I am not a lover of comparisons, but I could not resist using them in this case, as they're too evident here. Nevertheless, "Emotional Creations" is a strong release, both musically and commercially, and I believe Steve will have a bright creative future. Although not that complex, most of the songs are marked with a touch of magic, which should be taken into consideration above all by those with doubts about an accessible Symphonic Progressive.
VM: May 30, 2005
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