Hopefully, this alluring album by progressive rock multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist Rhys Marsh won't slip under the radar. It's an album that has staying power due to the artist's atmospheric and cleverly arranged works, largely containing memorably melodic hooks and emotive expressionism. Born in the UK, Marsh now resides in Norway, which has become a fertile region for the new prog rockers who often merge key components of this genre with personalized designs and mutable angles. In addition, Marsh states that "when I was writing this album, I was very inspired by music from the mid-to late-seventies, especially songs that had string synthesizers in place of Mellotrons." Hence, many distinct attributes of that classic prog era are subtly embedded in the artist's musicality on his third studio album.
Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, No Man), collaborator, vocalist Tim Bowness and other notables lend their wares, but Marsh's radio-friendly comps, outlined with harmonically attractive motifs also span indie rock, psyche rock and other offshoots. As several movements feature soothing keys, moody sax parts and dark-toned synth lines with some jazzy elements interspersed into the big schema, evidenced on "Golden Lullabies" and elsewhere. But his layered keys and prolific bass lines add a dense wall of sound in support of his lovely hooks and lyrically rich comps.
" The Butterflies" begins with Marsh's tender acoustic guitar parts and sings with warmhearted undertones, and soars via his falsetto choruses in line with another hummable melody and wistful theme, shaded with what sounds like a Mellotron-based backwash. Here, 1970s prog antiquity is shadowed by his corpulent analog synth phrasings, along with a bit of oomph towards the finale. Similar treatments reappear during "22" due to haunting keys-based flute patterns atop a harmonious narrative. In short, Marsh deserves greater recognition and, in theory, could enjoy widespread appeal from a cross-genre perspective if afforded more global awareness. Note: there are 10 additional 'bonus' songs on the downloadable version.
River; Long Way Back; Golden Lullabies; Ride The New Wave; The Butterflies; Let It Be Known!; One Hundred Memories; The Summer Days; '22'; (It Will Be) October After All.
Rhys Marsh: performer, composer, production & mixing; Arve Henriksen: trumpet; Kåre Kolve: saxophone; Tale Vang Ellefsen: chorus vocals; Roar Øien: chorus vocals; Rohey Taalah: chorus vocals; Silje Leirvik: chorus vocals; Anders Bjermeland: chorus vocals; Tim Bowness: chorus vocals; Ole Kristian Malmedal: chorus vocals; Vilde Aakre Lie: chorus vocals.