Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 38

Somehow we have blasted nearly through another year!  It’s astounding in both time and audio, and on this Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 38 that trend continues!  These albums today while completely different in their genre, design and delivery, are worthy of their reviews, as well as your music multiverse ears.  We waited twenty years for the latest from this progressive solo artist, and not only has he delivered, he couldn’t make up his mind on the mixes – so like me on my lists sometimes – he chose to include them both!  We have a long standing Canadian alternative rock band that had been on a little bit shorter hiatus then our progger, and their album slipped criminally past everyone it seems, but we got, we heard it, and you’re going to dig their return!  Our third band hails from America, but that’s not what their band name suggests, which might throw people.  And on top of that, their latest album further confuses the title for region and the very special musical instrument that uniquely defines this albums indie sound.  Without further mixes and confusions, let’s get Album Review Saturdays 2023 Episode 38 to you!

 

YouTube Channel Version Link
[Album Reviews w/special guest + 3 more album reviews]

 

Peter GabrielI/O

Where does one start with record such as this (wow, nice start right — let’s use a cliche)?  Peter Gabriel had been basically dropping a single per month since the start of 2023 showcasing the music while staying relevant, when he had been missing from the new material scene for 20 years!  I didn’t partake.  I did not want to listen to a single from Peter Gabriel.  I want to have the album experience, especially when it took this amount of time to get to an album of new material.  Therefore, I waited until the actual release date so I could digest the album in full.  I feel sorry for everyone who did not, as I feel it does/did warp your sense of the entire recording.  Turkey on Thanksgiving is best in the format of all that accompanies it for the time and hours and the company you keep (to go back a few weeks).  It’s just not that moving in solitary dish, maybe alone, or coming at you on Monday afternoon, popping it from a TV Dinner package (okay, I just dated myself there).  Go back if you did this to yourself.  Don’t knock the single(s)!  Digest the album, as I don’t think there is any other way to put into perspective the enormous dedication put to this solitary album.

The bright side and dark side are not a money grabbing attempt.  I truly believe the two different mixes leave a genuinely different impression of the material in each and every song.  The textures, the background, the keyboard tones and fluctuations within are escalated and de-escalated as if they were touched by the ear of God (yeah, I can’t explain it any other way).  I’m not going to get into the audio experience between the two.  I am merely here to state that they are necessary to the profound, touching, and deep interpretation for the listener.  This is not a self indulgent effort from one of the best solo progressive artists to grace the planet.  This is a legendary progressive experience that he has been building toward his entire career.  And, yes, that does make it sound like I am exalting this record above all others (even So my music multiverse listeners).  There are familiar chords and tones that harken back to songs, and create an attachment to the past — sort of the “I” for “in” if you will, which ultimately effected the “O” or “output.”  And, Gabriel acknowledges this fact in the actual album.

The songs are uniquely brilliant parts of the whole, and they stretch in many musical directions from songs to song, and even with the songs themselves, which is the mark of the musician and writer that he is.  He could have done anything, and it would have done well.  He could have released songs that fit in the wheelhouse of his prior successes.  He could have settled for relevance based on his past with Genesis, as well as his record sales success, or even the rennounded concerts that he has put together (Secret World was amazing, but I’m hearing even greater things from this recent tour).  Instead, Peter Gabriel looked down the ‘Four Kinds of Horses’ as in the song and decided he was not going to claim to be different — he was going to execute it with all his musical might, and of course all the musicians he could to bring it all to life!

‘The Court‘ is in.  It should be unanimous that I/O is work to be reckoned with for 2023 and years to come.  There are masterpieces of songwriting within it from start to finish, and their two brilliant mixes for you to interpret from.  Enjoy one of the best works of 2023 my music multiverse listeners!  Peter Gabriel knew you deserved it!

The Band [so you understand the scope of the work]

Principal musicians

  • Peter Gabriel – lead vocals, backing vocals, treated vocals (on “And Still”) keyboards, piano (on “The Court”, “So Much”, “Olive Tree”, “Love Can Heal”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”), synths, programming (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “I/O”, “Road to Joy”, “Olive Tree”, “This Is Home”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”), percussion (on “Four Kinds of Horses”, “Love Can Heal”,”And Still” and “Live and Let Live”), manipulated charango (on “Road to Joy”), glass harp (on “And Still”)
  • David Rhodes – guitars (except on “Playing for Time”), acoustic guitar (on “Olive Tree”), acoustic 12 string guitar (on “So Much” and “Olive Tree”), backing vocals
  • Tony Levin – basses
  • Manu Katché – drums (except on “Four Kinds of Horses”, “So Much”,”Love Can Heal” and “And Still”)
  • Ged Lynch – percussion (on “Olive Tree” and “Love Can Heal”)
  • Tom Cawley – piano (on “Playing for Time”)
  • Evan Smith – saxophone (on “Olive Tree”)
  • Josh Shpak – trumpet (on “Road to Joy” and “Olive Tree”)
  • Melanie Gabriel – backing vocals (on “The Court”, “Four Kinds of Horses”, “So Much”, “Love Can Heal” and “Live and Let Live)
  • Ríoghnach Connolly – backing vocals (on “Panopticom”, “Love Can Heal” and “This Is Home”)
  • Jennie Abrahamson – backing vocals (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Linnea Olsson – cello (on “Love Can Heal”), backing vocals (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Angie Pollock – synths (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Brian Eno – synths (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “This Is Home” and “Live and Let Live”), bells (on “Panopticom”), percussion (on “The Court”), rhythm programming and progressing (on “Four Kinds of Horses” and “Road to Joy”), electric worms and additional synths (on “Four Kinds of Horses”), manipulated guitar and ukulele (on “Road to Joy”), rhythm programming (on “Live and Let Live”)
  • Oli Jacobs – synths (on “Panopticom”, “Playing for Time”, “I/O” and “This Is Home”), programming (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “I/O”, “This Is Home” and “Live and Let Live”), piano (on “Four Kinds of Horses”), tambourine (on “This is Home”)
  • Don-E – bass synth (on “Road to Joy”)
  • Katie May – acoustic guitar (on “Panopticom” and “I/O”), percussion (on “The Court”, “This Is Home” and “Live and Let Live”), Rickenbacker guitar (on “I/O”), synths (on “I/O”), rhythm programming (on “Four Kinds of Horses”), guitar effects (on “Love Can Heal”)
  • Richard Evans – D whistle (on “I/O”), mandolin (on “Olive Tree”)
  • Richard Chappell – programming (on “Panopticom”, “The Court”, “I/O”, “Olive Tree”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”)
  • Richard Russell – filtered percussion (on “Four Kinds of Horses”)
  • Hans-Martin Buff – additional percussion and synths (on “Road to Joy”)
  • Ron Aslan – additional synths (on “Road to Joy”)
  • Oli Middleton – percussion (on “This Is Home”)
  • Paolo Fresu – trumpet (on “Live and Let Live”)Steve Gadd – brush loop (on “Live and Let Live”)

Orchestral and choral musicians

  • Violins: Everton Nelson, Ian Humphries, Louisa Fuller, Charles Mutter, Cathy Thompson, Natalia Bonner, Richard George, Marianne Haynes, Martin Burgess, Clare Hayes, Debbie Widdup, Odile Ollagnon
  • Violas: Bruce White, Fiona Bonds, Peter Lale, Rachel Roberts
  • Cellos: Ian Burdge (including solo cello on “And Still”), Chris Worsey, Caroline Dale, William Schofield, Tony Woollard, Chris Allan
  • Double basses: Chris Laurence, Stacey Watton, Lucy Shaw
  • Trumpet: Andrew Crowley
  • Tenor trombone/Euphonium: Andy Wood
  • Tenor trombone: Tracy Holloway
  • Bass trombone: Richard Henry
  • Tuba: David Powell
  • French horn: David Pyatt, Richard Bissill
  • Flute: Eliza Marshall
  • Orchestra conductor: John Metcalfe
  • Orchestra leader: Everton Nelson
  • Orchestral arrangements: John Metcalfe, Peter Gabriel (on “The Court”, “So Much”, “Olive Tree”, “And Still” and “Live and Let Live”) and Ed Shearmur (on “Playing for Time”)
  • The Soweto Gospel Choir: (on “I/O”, “Road to Joy” and “Live and Let Live”)[65]
  • Soprano: Linda Sambo, Nobuhle Dhlamini, Phello Jiyane, Victoria Sithole
  • Alto: Maserame Ndindwa, Phumla Nkhumeleni, Zanele Ngwenya, Duduzile Ngomane
  • Tenor: George Kaudi, Vusimuzi Shabalala, Xolani Ntombela, Victor Makhathini
  • Bass: Thabang Mkhwanazi, Goodwill Modawu, Warren Mahlangu, Fanizile Nzuza
  • Soloists: Phello Jiyane (Soprano), Duduzile Ngomane (Alto), Vusimuzi Shabalala (Tenor), Fanizile Nzuza (Bass), Victor Makhathini (Male voice Zulu improvisations), Phumla Nkhumeleni (Female ululating and chanting) (on “Live and Let Live”)
  • First tenors: Per Bergeå Af Geijerstam, Lukas Gavelin, Stefan Grudén, Lionel Guy, Samuel Göranzon, Björn Hagland, Peter Hagland, Henrik Hallingbäck, Magnus Hjerpe, Oskar Johansson, Lars Plahn, Carl Risinger, Alexander Rosenström, Pär Sandberg, Magnus Sjögren, Magnus Store, Stefan Strålsjö, Henrik Sundqvist, Staffan Sundström, Jon Svedin, Olle Terenius, Maki Yamada
  • Second tenors: Johan Berglund, Kristian Cardell, Jens Carlander, Jun Young Chung, Joakim Ekedahl, Olle Englund, Nils Frykman, Anton Grönberg, Johan Hedlund, Daniel Hjerpe, Fredrik Kjellröier, Kristofer Klerfalk, Nils Klöfver, Mattias Lundblad, Per-Henning Olsson, Peter Stockhaus, Peter Stureson, Anders Sundin, Erik Sylvén, Clas Tegerstrand, Magnus Törnerud, Sebastian Ullmark, Oskar Wetterqvist, Erik Östblom
  • First basses: Jonas Andersson, Filip Backström, Nils Bergel, Rickard Carlsson, Daniel Dahlborg, Oloph Demker, Nils Edlund, Erik Hartman, Lars Johansson Brissman, Elis Jörpeland, Jan Magnusson, Johan Morén, Tobias Neil, David Nogerius, Stein Norheim, Jacob Risberg, Stefan Simon, Henrik Stolare, Tor Thomsson, Håkan Tribell, Gunnar Wall, Fredrik Wetterqvist, Kristofer Zetterqvist, Samuel Åhman
  • Second basses: Gustav Alberius, Lars Annernäs, Emil Bengtsson, Anders Bergendahl, Peter Bladh, Max Block, Ludwig Engblom Strucke, Stefan Ernlund, Fredrik Hoffmann, Boris Klanger, Adam Liifw, Andreas Lundquist, Marcus Lundwall, Joakim Lücke, Johan Muskala, Björn Niklasson, Mattias Nilsson, Elias Norrby, Ola Olén, Carl Sandberg, Magnus Schultzberg, Anand Sharma, Isak Sköld, David Stålhane, Stefan Wesslegård, Gustav Åström
  • Choir conductor: Cecilia Rydinger [sv]

I/O Tracklisting  [Bright Mix and Dark Mix Albums]  Song placements vary on vinyl

  1. Panopticom
  2. Playing For Time
  3. The Court
  4. Four Kinds Of Horses
  5. i/o
  6. Love Can Heal
  7. Road To Joy
  8. So Much
  9. Olive Tree
  10. This Is Home
  11. And Still
  12. Live And Let Live

 

Econoline CrushWhen the Devil Drives

Canadian alternative bands were a plenty back in the hay-day of the Canadian Invasion, as we call it back here in Upstate New York, as we felt the full brunt of it, and we sucked up every minute, every album, and every concert we were afforded.  Econoline Crush was definitely a mid-comer to the invasion, coming in with a little piss and vim and vigor and a signature sound that added a unique industrial edge, setting them slightly apart from the common core of radio, which got them noticed immediately.  Radio noticed and followed immediately thereafter.  The lead singer is the other trick up the sleeve.  Trevor Hurst is a front man for sure!  He carries the heavy lyrical weight and effortlessly sculpts it to meet his alt-rock-industrial pop-chops.  When the Devil Drives, so many many years later, and you’re still driven by Hurst (whether he’s the devil or not), like a Hutchence re-incarnation through a fantastic new set of songs returning us to that feeling we had so many years ago but with a more pop-rock centric feel.

That’s right, I said it.  This feels like a stronger INXS record, and that instantly makes me genuinely happy!  While the industrial hint is still there, the heavy sway is the great heavier rock-pop riff and the genuine swagger of Hurst’s vocals that truly give the record its feel,  Sure we recognize the early signature from the first two tracks, but songs like ‘Smashing Optimism’ gives us all the feel that the groove and rock-pop riff have noticeably won out, or maybe they’ve found a clever way to utilize industrial patterns to shape the audio into a heavy pop-groove?  Either way, I’m so excited that their 15 year hiatus is over, despite the fact the Mr. Hurst has a full time job that’s not in the music wheelhouse (I truly respect him).  While this album has been hardly reviewed throughout the music multiverse it is definitely a welcomed album of 2023 in the house of Beyond Your Radio and our love of Canadian rock!  Mr. Hurst can drive our car and radio anytime!

The Band

  • Trevor Hurst – vocals
  • Dayvid Swart – drums
  • Troy Zak – bass
  • Dan Garrison – guitar

When the Devil Drives Tracklisting

  1. Invincible
  2. No Quitter
  3. Stars Don’t Shine
  4. Only
  5. Locked In Your Stone
  6. Going Under
  7. Smashing Optimism
  8. Salvation / Sensation
  9. Whisper

 

 

BeirutHadsel

No, they’re not from Beirut (but some of you already knew this).  The American indie band took a break at the request of Zachary Condon in the midst of a tour, and somehow he winds up on the  Norwegian island of Hadsel, where he developed laryngitis.  He rented a cabin and was permitted to use the Hadsel Church’s organ, which is when he formulated the album at the fingertips of it.  All during 2020, where we know things were not exactly going well in most of the world.  There’s no question that while there is sadness and hesitation in the mood and tone of the recording, Condon must have found some light within his surrounding, which were probably somewhat fleeting considering the minimalism in the recording as well as the available light in that area of the world (when you think about it).

Now that we’ve stated this, you are probably realizing why the record sounds like it does in comparison to the usual Beirut indie sound.  Condon’s situation (alone without bandmates) and instrument of choice is an interesting moment in recording history in my ears.  This is a artist stricken with issues (one of which is being able to actually sing) but he’s also stricken with a powerful beauty and a stunning instrument unknown at his whim.  Despite the final additions to finalize the album in studio listed below (and still solo as Beirut) this is sparse interpretation, raw, but emotional, which means, to me, that we’re not really going to appreciate the reality the created it.  But, we can appreciate our own interpretation, opening our ears to the music as it lays out the landscape, situation, trials, tribulations, and the glint of hope scuttling around in the music.

The Band

  • Zach Condon – percussion (tracks 1–4, 6–12), trumpet (1–4, 6, 7, 9, 12), modular synthesizer (1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10), French horn (1, 3, 4, 7, 9), church organ (1, 9, 11), pump organ (2–5, 7, 10, 12), glockenspiel (2, 3, 7, 10), Moog Voyager (2, 8, 9, 11, 12), baritone ukulele (3, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12), Rhythm Ace drum machine (3, 8, 11), piano (3, 12); tenor ukulele, electric organ (3); continuo organ, tape delay, accordion (6); Roland RS-505 (8, 11), Roland Jupiter (9); bells, field recording (10); Auto-Orchestra drum machine (12)

Hadsel Tracklisting

  1. Hadsel
  2. Arctic Forest (Instrumental)
  3. Baion
  4. So Many Plans
  5. Melbu (Instrumental)
  6. Stokmarknes
  7. Island Life
  8. Spillhaugen
  9. January 18th
  10. Süddeutsches Ton-Bild-Studio
  11. The Tern
  12. Regulatory
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