Title telling a tale, Canadian proggers make a claim of leaving their imprint as the band’s name dictates.
Having risen up from playing covers, this quintet possessed a lot of exposure and experience on individual terms, enough to follow their 2011’s self-titled debut with a concert DVD, yet the next studio record is often a hurdle for artists of any renown, so a certain caution might be in order to the band’s fans. They needn’t worry, though, as the ensemble addresses the potential problem by pinning it to their new album’s sleeve, weaving a 19-minute suite out of it and wisely making the epic a closer, while “An Answer Dreaming” that opens it all sets the agenda of instrumental dexterity in the service of a tune with some gusto. As Will Hare wraps his keyboards around Peter Murray’s bass before Ed Bernard’s guitar riffs contrast the music’s solemnity and Phil Naro unfurls the narrative into a chorus harmonies, passing them to the vertiginous “Dandelion” with its violin dance, art rock reigns supreme, but “In Disbelief” takes the intrepid interplay into the fusion waters, wherein the lead voice is the icing of the cake.
All this may seem stylistically predictable, which can’t be said of the soulful silkiness of “Long Walk Down” which runs voices through the piano sieve and turns them celestial, or of “Liberated Dream” that counterbalances its arresting weirdness with funky chords and Hammond-led heaviness. Here, the obvious YES comparisons end for good, especially once “Another Day” floats in in a folky way, on a transparent acoustic strum and vocal polyphony, and “Surrounds Me” reveals the variety of pop hooks and rock moves. The plethora of elements come together for the title piece’s swirl of Gallic and Celtic motifs welcoming slide guitar and mandolin in their multi-colored midst. so, if the paint of the band’s name is meant to be indelible, “Second Sound” guarantees the longevity of their stamp.