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(52:45; Temple of Switches)
TRACK LIST CD: 1. Welcome 3:27 2. Your Fly is Down 3:34 3. The Wind 4:52 4. Pareidolia 4:36 5. Dale's Neglected Song 3:26 6. Human Zoo 6:00 7. Llamada a San Cristobal (Chepo's Song) 3:26 8. The Unfurling 10:16 9. Freeway 4:40 10. Go Champion 3:33 11. Lemongrass and Thyme 4:55 LINEUP: Tenk Van Dool - vocals, bass, guitars, keyboards David White - drums and percussion with: Amanda Lehmann - vocals Dale Wiser - bass Akuda - vocals Jim Chavez - vocals
Prolusion. US band Temple of Switches can look back at a decade as an active project, and for the majority of the time this has been the creative vehicle of composer and musician Tenk Van Dool more than anything else, albeit with a number of musicians helping out. "Four" is the most recent studio album by this project, and was self released at the start of 2022.
Analysis. Temple of Switches is a project that appears to increasingly place itself in various corners of the progressive rock universe where not too many others will venture while also making occasional appearances in the more lived in settlements of this universe. A curious blend between the unexpected, the quirky and the familiar if you like. Eclectic is a description often applied in such circumstances, and in this case it does fit rather well I think. Those with their hearts and souls firmly set in classic era progressive rock of the slightly quirkier kind will get quite a lot to enjoy on this album, with 'The Unfurling' visiting quite few different aspects of this form of the style and, among others, King Crimson getting a few nods in their direction throughout this production. But calmer and more elegant creations with pastoral sequences and floating psychedelic textures is a part of the experience here too, alongside creations blending elements from all of the above with subtly jazz-tinged undercurrents. That we also are treated to a more energetic and expressive creation that hones in more on the fusion aspects of progressive rock, complete with a bit of drum solo playtime, is another aspect worth mentioning. Temple of Switches also step a bit outside of the more or less conventional progressive rock landscapes on this occasion, with heavy prog and symphonic progressive rock used as elements in songs that steps in much closer to hard rock and glam rock, with some details that may or may not be nods in the direction of 70's Queen and others I'm certain are callouts towards the late David Bowie and his more glam oriented escapades, although they could of course be accidental. There are other dimensions to this album as well, but these are the main ones that I took notice of, and the total combination here is a neat and nifty multifaceted production with a bit of an eclectic swagger.
Conclusion. While perhaps being a bit more of a retro-oriented creation than anything else, the eclectic scope and quirky tendencies explored on Temple Of Switches latest album "Four" strikes me as material that should find a lot of favor among progressive rock fans. Perhaps more alluring to those who tend to enjoy the bands with a bit more of a cult following than the fans of the big household names though. If quirky and eclectic retro-oriented progressive rock strikes you as an interesting description, chances are good that this is an album you'll find to be quite the rewarding experience.
Progmessor: February 2022
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