LUNEAR – From Above

Lunear 2024

From Above

Enjoying their vantage point, Gallic collective observe existential planes of pure wonder.

It must be easy to create cerebral music within progressive rock idiom – but it’s often nigh on impossible to compose, along the way, beautiful melodies and defy the genre’s ambitious scope. Embracing both aspects of the art, this French trio may not try and stand on the high ground, yet “From Above” should elevate their oeuvre to a totally different level than 2018’s “Many Miles Away” or “Curve.Axis.Symmetry.” from 2020 seemed to suggest. The key to the ensemble’s fourth, and most impressive, album is their third one, as 2022’s “Gostraks” found the keyboard player Paul J. No, guitarist and bassist JP Benadjer and drummer Sébastien Bournier cover tracks by, next to less unexpected performers, Lana Del Rey and Britney Spears, and such a pop angle informed their fresh cuts.

That’s what’s propelling the album’s gambit “In Their Eyes” – a five-part, 25-minute-long, multicolored and many-layered epic – from miracle to miracle without burdening the listener, or musicians themselves, with notions of style, as it’s turns of tunes that dictate the flow of raptures on offer. They start with the belligerent march of “As Far As Eye Can See” which will be fleshed out with instrumental twang and vocal harmonies to morph first into the gorgeous piano-rippled waves of “Prisoner Of War” and then into the exquisite reverie of “1001 Nights And Probably More” and yet into a groove-driven vibrancy of “A Horse For A Kingdom” before landing on the cinematic triumph of “Schrödinger’s Run” – and placing a breathtaking six-string tribute to Steve Hackett in the eye of this storm. As a result, the techno undercurrent and chorale passages of the organ-bolstered “Cathedral” fail to surprise – although not to amaze – with a majestic uplift of the band’s soft singing and scintillating, imagery-filled motifs, while “So Let’s Go” distills the preceding sonic stream to an acoustic serenade to natural wonders.

Picking up from there, the folk-informed mini-symphony “The Tears Of Nostalgia” builds momentum in the crossfire of simple strum and orchestral weave only to resolve it in heavy riffs and earth-shattering rumble and bring forth a dynamically spirited, if gradually quietening to a whistle, finale. Un chef d’oeuvre of an album.


July 6, 2024

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