Melodic Revolution 2019

The Face Of Life

Tuneful treatise on the vagaries of reality and the ways to strike a chord with it.

Subtitled “A Symphony In E Major” – albeit not following a classical structure while retaining an epic scope – this album must be the culmination of a journey that began a decade earlier when “Powered By Light” announced the American ensemble’s advent, and developed by "Travelog" in 2015, only the trilogy’s final chapter is much more than idealistic take on existential issue: rather, it’s preoccupied with religious concepts and their influence on our moral routines. Quite a high order, of course, yet there’s music to support such philosophy: four expansive pieces whose ever-changing sonic vistas keep the focus firm on a tune, from the opening drum roll of “Epistle” to the triumphant organ of “Last Words”: the trip’s spiritual finale.

What’s essential to the record’s momentum is the quintet’s ability to rock – something often lost in prog’s self-importance – and the swinging clench between the bluesy vibes of Peter Matuchniak’s guitar and the fierce runs of Mark Tupko’s bass counterbalance Mike Visaggio’s cosmic synthesizers most impressively, riffs offset by stark piano infusing the overall sway with vulnerability. That’s why, even though the chorale snippets in “All Open Eyes” sound majestic, it’s the heavy wave which follows the celestial a cappella parts that’s the hardest-hitting passage on display, dissolving bombast into a thing of beauty before the players explore the pastorale and deliver on the symphonic promise.

St. John Coleman’s voice may seem too relentlessly sweet for the many moods the melodies go through, but instrumental details take over the words, and the nigh-on-20-minute title track has just the right measure of little vocal lines to distract the listener from the infectious funk. It’s bubbling under the solemn art-minded surface, fashioning a sprawling anthem to joie de vivre – not devoid of cliches, unfortunately, yet utterly engaging, as is the entire album. The journey’s over now; time to move on – because that’s what kinesis is all about.


July 24, 2019

Category(s): Reviews
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