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TCP - 2011 - "Fantastic Dreamer"

(61:19, 10t Records)


*****+
                 

TRACK LIST:

1.  Schizoid & Guntrip 2:46
2.  In the Movie of You 7:57
3.  Devotee 7:24
4.  Ambiance for the Active Mind 6:40
5.  Fantastic Dreamer 6:26
6.  Releasing 5:21
7.  Fading in the Rain 6:29
8.  Upon Further Review 4:26
9.  Vision 13:50

LINEUP:

Henry Tarnecky  vocals; keyboards
Blake Tobias  keyboards; bass
Jack Wright  guitars; drums
With:
Tom Shiben  bass 
Glenn Arpino  keyboards 
Nicole Tarnecky  vocals 

Prolusion. The US band TCP was formed back in 2008, when fellow musicians Tarnecky, Tobias and Wright encountered one another on the internet. The threesome discovered that their personal chemistry was good and decided to have a go at becoming a studio based band-project. This chemistry seems to be at a good level too, as they had their debut album "The Way" issued the year after. In the spring of 2011 the follow-up "Fantastic Dreamer" appeared, and as with their initial effort it was issued by the US enthusiast label 10t Records.

Analysis. Describing the sound and style of an artist is often something of a challenge. Comparisons tend to be of a cliched variety, as the number of true-to-life household artists to make references to isn't all that plentiful, while general descriptions depend on the reader making the same associations as yourself, which is never a given fact. In the case of "Fantastic Dreamer" one might toss out names such as Marillion, Genesis and Pink Floyd as probable influences, which is right to some extent, but at least partially wrong too. This is a band with a bit more to their escapades than the most usual associations readers will get when reading and thinking about those three household names from the annals of progressive rock: like the brief opening number Schizoid & Guntrip. A short, concise creation, sporting harder-edged guitar riffs and a dark, massive sound from bass and guitar both, closer to what one might expect from King Crimson or even Black Sabbath at times. An ever twisting and turning composition in itself, it is also closer to what one might find in the repertoire of the former. While the lighter-toned, gentler and searching guitar soloing that is the main recurring aspect throughout is of a manner closer to what David Gilmour or Steve Rothery are known to deliver. The following In the Movie for You is a creation of a gentler nature, with a few harder-edged guitar motifs making occasional visits but other than that slower, richly arranged fluctuating keyboards and Mellotrons combined with melancholic, darker-toned guitar motifs craft an intriguing atmosphere of the kind Pink Floyd explored to perfection at the end of the 1970's. The piano-dominated Devotee is a composition with slightly more of an art pop flavor, while Ambiance for the Active Mind is closer to what one might describe as new age or ambient with liberal amounts of Pink Floyd-evoking touches and a contrasting, harder-edged insert in the second half. The brilliant title track kicks off with spirited violins and dampened, light-toned guitars exploring a dampened but joyful theme prior to a sudden shift midways into a dark-toned driving theme closer to some of the more intense track by the UK act IQ. As for the Genesis and Marillion references mentioned at the onset, they come to the forefront in the second half of the disc. From Releasing and onwards British symphonic progressive rock would appear to be one of the most important inspirations, merrily going back and forth between motifs and themes referencing the sophisticated 70's variety of it and the slightly more theatrical and atmospheric-laden one taken on by the Fish-era Marillion. While the songs on the second half of "Fantastic Dreamer" are on this merry runaround, the lead vocals of Henry Tarnecky can be described as being on the same path from start to finish. There are subtle differences between the vocals of Peter Gabriel and Fish, and it is intriguing to listen to a lead vocalist who touches upon these differences rather frequently, to the extent that comparisons towards both of them are inevitable. I suspect this latter aspect will be hard to imagine for most, but I think most who have given a close listen to this disc will agree. The main challenge for this band will be to stand out amongst the many others exploring a similar type of music. TCP's take is one a bit more eclectic in overall scope, and their album is certainly a well-made and -produced one, but a few standout tracks aside, most of the songs appear to be just a bit too pleasant to my ears. A good album by all means, but one with an appeal for a select audience.

Conclusion. While harnessing compositional and instrumental details from an extensive palette, TCP's second album "Fantastic Dreamer" is one that typically should find most favor amongst those who enjoy bands like Marillion, Genesis and Pink Floyd: Rich keyboard arrangements, the occasional Mellotron insert, some piano motifs and even the good old harpsichord in tight, harmonic interplay with guitars of the gentler variety and on a few occasions dampened riff constructions. Nice and nifty instrumental parts, including quite a few excursions into Gilmour-inspired landscapes courtesy of the guitar solo, while the lead vocals should be to the satisfaction of those who prefer Fish's and Peter Gabriel's take on the lead vocalist assignment. If this sounds enticing, TCP is a band you'll want to explore.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: October 10, 2011
The Rating Room


Related Links:

10T Records
TCP


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