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Monarch Trail



3.98 | 130 ratings

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Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer
4 stars I've been a big fan of Ken Baird for quite a few years now, his down to earth lyrics and beautiful compositions simply take me to another place. Well Ken is back but he's decided to make this more of a band effort and so he's called this project MONARCH TRAIL named after a nature trail in his home town of Dundas. Gotta love the art work done by Annette Roche, and this art work was also an inspiration to Ken and the band. Now this may be more of a band effort but Ken still wrote all the lyrics and created all the music, so fans of Ken Baird solo won't be disappointed. For me the biggest difference between this and solo Baird was how prominant the synths are, and also this might be more dynamic overall compared to his previous works.

So we get four long tracks clocking in at a tidy 46 minutes. Nice. "Luminescence" gets us started as the synths roll in as the guitar and drums help out. It picks up quickly with synths leading the way. The tempo will continue to shift. This is feel good music right here. Vocals for the first time after 2 1/2 minutes and it's so good to hear Ken's voice again. I like that synth/guitar section after 5 minutes. Things then calm down as we get a spacey and drifting sound right to the end of the song. "Silent World" sounds great to start as do the vocals and background synths before a minute. Piano leads briefly then the vocals and full sound take over again. It turns jazzy 3 minutes in but not for long. Love the sound 6 minutes in as the guitar solos and the bass throbs. Spacey winds end it.

"East Of Fifty" is the only instrumental and the shortest track at just over 6 minutes. A bright and upbeat start to this one with synths out front. THE FLOWER KINGS actually come to mind for me on this one. It settles after 5 1/2 minutes as a spacey atmosphere ends it. "Sky Above The Sun" is the over 20 minute closer. Piano comes and goes early on before the synths start to dominate. A change after 2 1/2 minutes as a beat kicks in followed by vocals. The synths like the vocals will come and go. A calm 7 1/2 minutes in with reserved vocals as we get this pleasant musical backdrop to it all. The mood continues to change then we get this epic sound before 14 minutes with a powerful atmosphere. Vocals return as the song meanders along.

Well I still think "Martin Road" is the best album Ken has created but man this is really good. I do wish the lyrics were included only because it's one of Baird's strong points. A solid 4 stars.

Mellotron Storm | 4/5 |


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