Intelligent Music 2020
Good vibrations by Bulgarian doctor brave the weather and serve up another rock-solid spectacle.
When Milen Vrabevski, M.D., started a positive-thinking crusade with "The Power Of Mind" about a decade ago, he could hardly imagine that the “Intelligent Music” endeavor would take on a life of its own and that more and more of his heroes would join the project’s fluctuating cast. With such mainstays as Simon Phillips as a co-producer and John Payne of ASIA fame as one of the singers – the other vocalists on the series’ fifth installment being RAINBOW’s Ronnie Romero and RIVER HOUNDS’ Richard Grisman who pass their lines around – and finest Bulgarian instrumentalists to deliver the message, Vrabevski had no chance for a misstep.
It might be standard AOR in terms of style, yet arresting melodies and life-affirming stance of pieces like acoustically tinctured opener “A Kind Of Real Life” make this album an irresistible proposition. While there’s orchestral grandeur to piano-driven ballads “The Things In Your Mind” or “By The Side Of The Minute” which reach for the high end of emotional spectrum, some cuts on offer, pop-oriented and given luxuriant choruses, will err towards lightheartedness, sharp riffs and flamenco lace notwithstanding, and rocking about rock in “We Keep On Running” doesn’t do the concept any good, either.
Still, “Don’t Let Them Win” should win over the listener but whether the waltz of “Letting Me In” fully registers in one’s memory remains to be seen, although the same can’t be said of “Run Away” where reggae rears its groovy head to enliven the track’s spiritual sway. Phillips’ toms slowly dance on the tender “Reflecting” before its folksy veins bulge to unleash a wild swirl and his drums fire up “Rising” before it’s fleshed out with infectious panache to lead the number beyond theatricality.
The project may run its course soon, yet positive thinking carries on resulting in delightful performances.