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Club Merano - High Road CD (album) cover

HIGH ROAD

Club Merano

 

Crossover Prog

3.87 | 9 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Here's another little known Finnish prog act with only one album. The composer-frontman Harpov handles vocals, acoustic guitar, electric sitar and Moog, and there are six other members (plus some guest appearances), so the sound is very meaty. Each track is under 6 minutes long and there's a strong pop sensibility in songwriting, but still this sounds proggy, even with a retro feel. The instrumental opener is a good example: it has layers of keyboards, airy CAMEL-like melodies, some fiery electric guitar, perhaps a bit kitsch-y main theme and very uplifting atmosphere. 'Medley 1970' (am I supposed to recognize some references to the prog of that year because of such title?) is a sharp song that could be in between - or within - the more epic tracks by The Flower Kings. Good, solid track.

'Flame On' makes me think of Porcupine Tree's more tender songs (e.g. on the Lightbulb Sun album), though it doesn't quite reach the typical slow, deep ambience of PT. Anyway, enjoyable emotional grip in it! 'Lovers' has a hectic and variating tempo and a dramatic tension that turns into breath-taking instrumental section featuring a fantastic - but too short! - electric guitar solo. 'Days of Our Lives' continues the almost ever-present formula of slightly treated, metallic vocals combined with rich & full instrumentation. Maybe the album is too thickly produced all the time. A lot of salami and cheese in this piz- I mean album. The accordion on 'Comfort Zone' then is the inevitable champignon I rather leave on the plate.

By the time of the seventh track 'Sunny Day' I begin to feel very well-fed already. 'Awaiting' is all too full of notes at this critical moment. The three last tracks happily offer some more of the awaited delicate moments, especially the closer 'Someday' which approaches furthermore the aforementioned Porcupine Tree ambience. All in all I was gladly surprised and impressed by this finely crafted album, and I recommend it to all with a taste for pop accessibility and the emotional side over the more demanding side in progressive rock. Here and there I wished the sound wasn't so full, so cheesy. And of course it would also make it a lot better if there were more variety in song structures, in the symphonic prog sense. I hope this group makes another album to fulfill these expectations.

Matti | 4/5 |

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