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MOR here we come?
on 4 October 2014
I really enjoyed their previous album, "We're Here Because We're Here", and had high expectations of this one. The overall feeling, having now listened to the album over a fair period of time, is of some disappointment. Many tracks are certainly not bad, but are not especially memorable and are an undemanding listen. "Weather Systems" is certainly pleasant and enjoyable overall. The music is performed and sung well, with some obvious high-points. - notably. track 7, "The Beginning & the End" in which the band actually cut loose a little from otherwise cosy blandness.
The problem, I feel, is that, perhaps in an attempt to become more mainstream, they have lost some of their 'prog' elements. Track 2, "Untouchable Part 2", is by no means poor, but you would not blink if some nascent 'star' performed it on "X-factor". There is a tendency to take one simple melody, and then simply repeat it over and over, but just add more and more instruments, play a bit louder, and up the vocal intensity. At times it can sound like 'over-emoting' - heading towards "Evanescence" territory? However, interestingly, I was surprised to discover that some of my younger relatives (a good 20-30 years younger than myself) are now fans, so maybe the strategy is working for them?
It would be nice if they could again develop a little more complexity in their music, be less 'formulaic', compose more involved melodies and themes, and bring the guitar to the fore a lot more on future albums. I will not buy their newest album until I have a chance to listen to it. I suspect it may be similar to this. They have worked hard for their success, and I am pleased for them - but I am not certain this direction is to my taste.