Well now then, this is a good album. Wearing your musical influneces so plainly on your sleeve can be problematic as people will often compare you to your heros, and within a few listens you can see where Touchstone are coming from and trying to get to. Obviously inspired by Marillion, (early) Genesis, Floyd, Yes (to a degree) and the younger upstarts, Mostly Autumn and the heavier Dream Theater, Touchstone have mashed it all together and given us a strong album that points to a bright future, even if their musical heritage and peers hark from earlier years.
Not afraid to weave bold, musical soundscapes, like the Prog Heaven title track, and The Witness, nestling among polished bright jewels of the radio rock of Strange Days, the funky, rocky, driving Zinmorph - all sexy bass riffs and stabbing guitar motiffs - its refreshing to see a band like this emerge in this manufactured pop star era.
The trade off between male and female vocals work well, with the lyrics delivered with a straight bat - no trills, no histrionics, just a delivery that at times comes across ethereal, other times almost childlike, which is not a critism, as it compliments the occasional grinding riff well, the dark with light, the heaven with hell. The two extremes also extend to some, but not all of the quality of writing. There are real couple of turkeys on here (in my opinion) which knock off 1 star for me. Line in the Sand, starts well with keyboard cycles underpinned by some good riffing before turning into a Eurovision style ballad with socially aware lyrics. The great keyboard routine, reminiscent of Genesis' Firth of Forth is lost amidst the schmaltz. Solace, a song sung from a young girls viewpoint, asking for 'Daddy to chase away the ogres etc etc' is to these ears toe curlingly bad, and gets the skip treatment every time. Please dont let this critism put you off the album however, the overall quality is high, but these 2 make what would have been a classic, into a very strong package- I'm sure some people will love them, they just grate with me but if your musical tastes are similar to mine (the bands I have name checked here, and from my other reviews)you will enjoy this album immensely. The almost folk rock of Joker In the Pack, with its great chorus, driving rythm, and the title track's sheer scale, and ambition will keep this CD in your player month after month. I cant wait for their next release!
- Original Release Date: 1 Jun. 2009
- Release Date: 1 Jun. 2009
- Label: Touchstone
- Copyright: 2009 Touchstone
- Total Length: 1:12:20
- ASIN: B003JNUS5W
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,549 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)