Returning to the fray, Turkish-Franco quintet progress into the future without leaving their unforgettable past behind.
“Silence is not the crime,” state this collective. Indeed, when old ensembles reconvene, aficionados often fear their heroes would sound either outdated or desperately modern, yet “Points Of Libration” proves there’s no reason to worry in the case of the veterans who remained true to themselves. It’s been eight years since Setrak Bakirel and Eril Tekeli were back in action, after a three-decade-long hiatus, so their newly invigorated team had enough time to become a creative force, and their third album picks up where 1980’s “Between Flesh And Divine” left off and still feels fresh, with no vestige of patina many lesser mortals gather along the way to here and now. Which is why the band’s combined depth and ease have such a profound effect on the discerning ear.
It’s the effect of presence – and being in the present – that’s firmly outlined from the studio ambience opening the record onward. It allows “Deadline Of A Lifetime” float into the focus, where supple bass rumble is stricken with scintillating keyboards, before Eril’s flute and Setrak’s guitar weave a delicate harmonic lace and usher in a roaring organ and arresting riff to underpin a cosmic vista which will transpire through tentative Eastern motif and loom large. As Bakirel’s vocals roll over the ever-shifting groove, the ensemble’s nervous sweetness seems almost unbearable, and the powerful acoustic pulse of “In The Mist” hits the listener straight in solar plexus, letting the reeds alleviate the folk-infused blow until the licks of gloomy baroque ballad “Crossing In Between” briefly flutter by and prepare one for the album’s tour de force.
Starting with a cappella and strum, which in turns come to the fore, epic “Oriental Game” unfolds a haunting idyllic panorama for the specters of Anatolian rock roam freely, dance in the dynamic light – increasingly bright despite the night setting of the story they tell – and offer a memorable refrain. But it’s the atmospheric swirl and percussive thunder of “The Twister” that pack the most tangible dramatic punch and explore the stereo picture, while the minstrelsy of “Melancholia’s Kingdom” and the cold sway of “Urban Silk” smooth all the edges only to propose a singalong and soar to the sun. At this point, the initially unplugged “Radio Hatirasi” – the record’s sole piece delivered in Turkish – bursts with honeyed anger and leaves the old and new fan alike wanting more and hoping the ensemble won’t stay innocently silent for long.