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Yesterdays - 2008 - "Holdfenykert"

(54:10, Musea Records)


*****+
                 
TRACK LIST:                   

1.  Lahla-Byeyebye 5:03
2.  Sunlit Garden 1:57
3.  Infinite 4:34
4.  Don't Be Scared 5:46
5.  It's So Divine 4:47
6.  If Ever 3:09
7.  Where Are You 8:02
8.  Just Stay 5:33
9.  Moonlit Garden 2:14
10. Seven 11:44
11. Somewhere in Space 6:24

LINEUP:

Bogati-Bokor Akos  guitars, bass; keyboards; vocals
Enyedi Zsolt  vintage keyboards
Kozma Kis Emese  flutes
Csergo Domokos  drums
Vitalyos Lehel  bass
Baszo Tibor  vocals
Fulop Timea  vocals
Janosi Kinga  vocals
Kosa David - percussion

Prolusion. YESTERDAYS is a band based in Cluj, Romania, and was formed in 1998. The band members are ethnic Hungarians living in Romania, not far away from the most famous geographical location in this country, Transylvania. Several members have a background in the Hungarian symphonic rock band You & I. "Holdfenykert" is the debut album by this outfit, first released in 2006. After being signed to the French label Musea Records, the band's CD was remastered and subsequently re-released in 2008.

Analysis. Yesterdays have Yes as their first and foremost influence, and do not hide the fact that 70s symphonic rock in that vein is precious to them. Their main ambition is to create a fusion of this style of music and traditional Hungarian music, where layered vocals and the sounds from vintage 70s keyboards are prominent elements. While getting familiar with this release, for quite a long time there was a whole different category of music that struck me as influential to this band though, as especially the first 6 compositions on this album are quite heavily tinged with jazz. Drums and percussion in particular come across as played in this manner, but also the bass and guitars have some rather jazzy touches at times. The more symphonic dominated part of this album will be found on tracks Where Are You, Just Stay and Seven, with the middle of these being the most symphonic tune on the album. The guitar is an important instrument in this setting. In the first half of the album, as well as on selected tracks and segments in the second half, the acoustic guitar is allowed to shine. The opening tracks feature careful, fragile licks, driving and evolving the mellow tunes to some extent, slowly increasing in pace, strength and intensity. The themes and motifs appear simplistic in style; the main focus seems to be to convey memorable melody lines rather than to showcase virtuosity. On the compositions with stylistic emphasis on symphonic rock, the electric guitar is utilized to some extent as well, mainly to provide drawn out chords. This adds dark, heavy textures to these particular segments, indeed adding the rock element to the symphonic setting. The flute has a minor but important role in the music, adding a distinct folk music touch when used. Never dominating any tune, it's still an integral element in adding diversity to the songs, as well as giving them an extra dimension. The vintage 70s keyboards have much of the same role, but for these instruments adding symphonic touches to the textures is the given role, carefully in the mellow compositions and more bombastic in the symphonic ones; in the latter case it will more often than not be used extensively, adding multiple layers of sounds and motifs, at times combined with more modern synthesizers. The drums, percussion and bass add rhythm, and in the mellower compositions these instruments also tend to be played in a jazz-tinged manner, to the extent that some songs sounds like slick and mellow jazz more than anything else. Fans of female vocals will have much to enjoy on this album, as single and multiple layers of female vocals are something of a trademark for this band, with an emphasis on a careful, melodic performance. On a few tunes we're even treated to Gentle Giant style multiple layers, which should please aficionados of more complex vocal performances. "Holdfenykert" comes across as a strong release overall. Personally I didn't find it spectacular by any means, but a strong, solid and quite above average release with excellent performances all around. The only weakness if one may even call it that is the lack of universally appealing compositions.

Conclusion. This fine release by the Romanian-based band Yesterdays should appeal strongly to followers of '70s symphonic rock, in particular the second half of the album. Followers of folk and jazz-tinged mellow rock should find the first half of this release to be quite fascinating too, and people enjoying both styles of music on this album will probably see this CD as a top 10 release in 2008.

OMB: September 10, 2008
The Rating Room


Related Links:

Musea Records
Yesterdays


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