Nearing their twentieth anniversary, NY prog force deliver a closing chapter of one gloomy trilogy.
Without pushing their presence too frontal, this group made a point of focusing on the wonder of tune and depth of performance rather than showcasing the conceptuality of it all. Whatever melodic and lyrical arcs there are between 2009’s “The Darkened Room” and “Crush Of Night” from 2012, this final instalment of the band’s magnum opus stands out in its own optimistic right. And though the anxious “Can’t Feel The Earth, Part IV” harks back to the triptych beginning, the lyricism of “Own The Mystery” sucks the listener into the gentle, nostalgic dance of piano and flute which smooth the pain of the “been a long time” refrain and don’t let go until the very end.
With an ensemble approach to vocal sharing and folk feeding Paul Bremner’s guitar, while Tom Galgano’s keyboards add a cosmic vibe to it, the pieces’ underlying sadness grows into a whole emotional spectrum as they flow. So if the classical lull in “The Three Seers” lies on the ivories’ vortex, the jazzy start of “If It’s True,” that’s shot through with John Galgano’s bass, hides a bluegrass ghost in its heart, and the “Start Again” blues holds a lot of hope once the voices of Anmarie Byrnes and Laura Meade join in the adventure. The ride may get bumpy in “Keep Away” with its nervous funk ripping the prog surface and the familiar refrain, yet “Illuminata” basks in an acoustic glory before unfolding into an orchestral landscape.
As a result, the uplifting finale of “Like A Straight Line” goes to show the playful unevenness of this record which is all the better for its twists and turns that, ultimately, lead towards the light. That’s the beauty of the neverending moment and the end of the story.