Rock Company 2019
Bringing on the change, Dutch melodic rockers progress into the future.
The brainchild of Peter Cox, who masterminded a slew of rock-solid releases, this project has always been about exploring a single theme from various angles, and their fifth full-length effort is no different – being different at the same time, because the record’s subject is temporal metamorphosis. A follow-up to "Lonely Desert" whose moral compass embraced space-bound reaches, “Seasons” must take the listener down to earth, although the nature, as opposed to the nature of things, will be far from the band’s agenda. And that’s a good thing.
While “Change The World” seems to rage and twirl, wrapping Phil Vincent’s voice in vertiginous riffs, it’s electronic vignettes that up this song’s allure and give the organ-laden heaviness a pop sensibility, also a prominent feature of “Circles”: a wordless wonder accumulating the album’s beauty and defining Cox’s mastery of a studio. A couple more instrumentals – the cosmically chilly “On The Edge Of Winter” and the solemnly rocking “Spring Is Coming” – profile his guitar prowess and create an arc which has the proggy “Storm In November” and the cello-abetted ballad “Rain In May” under its concept roof, while Vince O’Regan’s manifold six-string solos help lift the menacing “Trading Places” and the otherwise angst-anchored bombast of “Into The Lion’s Den” off the ground.
FF keep their AOR bent in check this time by loading longer numbers like “A Silent Cry” with shade rather than light and harnessing choruses before the refrains soar into saccharine skies. The record clocking in at an hour, some tracks – the ones that sport strong arrangements set to rawer tunes – could be cut out, yet it would be a pity if such cinematic piece as opener “Delta Hours” – which deals not with ideals but with a real-life situation – was left off, even though their absence wouldn’t allow the album outstay its welcome.
Still, this is the very nature of change, to let things run organically; this is what fuels “Seasons” and warrants its repeated spins.