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Fourteen Twentysix - Lighttown Closure CD (album) cover


Fourteen Twentysix


Crossover Prog

3.50 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars The first "proper" album by Dutch outfit, Fourteen Twentysix, essentially a solo project by Chris Van Der Linden, with a little bit of help from his friends, this is an impressive work, and one that definitely grows on the listener with repeated turns.

Van Der Linden is a very talented musician and vocalist, and the mood of the work is amply set by the very strong opening track, AM. A lovely acoustic intro gives way to a deeply melancholic vocal set against pounding bass, drums, and interesting effects. Very atmospheric, it has that quality so often missing in many efforts, that of drawing the listener in more deeply and experiencing, rather than merely hearing, and you don't actually realise that you are listening to two separate tracks when After The Storm begins, as it is a continuation creating, in effect, one long piece of music of over seven minutes duration..

The dark bass and vocals continue on Closing Hours, backed by more key effects and a nice rhythm guitar, but the centrepiece, for me, is the fantastic drum work, all of which on the album were recorded live. A nice track which puts me in mind of not just Steven Wilson (whose influence is everywhere), but also U2 in their more melodic and moody moments.

Gone Today is still dark, but in a more commercial fashion. A lot of music is packed into less than four minutes here.

My personal favourite is Tonight I, which shows incredible maturity, and is, I very much hope, a foretaste of a long and successful career. Lyrically, I take this as a doomed love affair, or the breakdown of a close relationship, and the guilt and regret that such breakdowns inevitably bring. Once again, the drums are used as almost a lead instrument, with some emotional guitars and keyboard effects backing up to create a lush, moody soundscape. I guarantee you will fall in love with the instrumental section which breaks in at four and a half minutes into the track. It's a very clever track which reminds me very strongly of Crimson or Van Der Graaf at their most inventive, but without the left field cacophony accompanying.

Signals In The Sky is the second longest track on the album, weighing in at a little over eight minutes, and is again a deeply mature and moving piece of music, and one that takes you through the emotional handwringer somewhat. This, perhaps more than any other track, showcases a unique talent in making dark music strangely and refreshingly uplifting.

Descending continues the feel of what preceded, but is, I think, certainly vocally, less interesting, certainly at the outset. A little too sparse to be wholly effective, it is a track which, certainly on the first few listens, has one losing concentration and attention prior to the denouement, which repeats the trick of preceding tracks in dragging you back and creating a lush sound.

White Paint is a deeply beautiful and, I feel, personal song. Anyone who has suffered a deep relationship or love falling apart will agree that not even White Paint can cover up the hurt, the darkness, and when he sings about the look in the song target's eyes, you can see them as deeply hypnotic and special to the writer. It is another quite sparse track, but this pulls off the difficult trick of keeping you engaged, and that is all down to some great vocals and guitar work.

The album closes with the longest piece, Lashes, which is over nine minutes long. It basically pulls together everything on the album, the moods, textures, effects, pulsating rhythm section, and mournful stories, into a very effective epic, and as the last bars fade away, you feel quite exhausted, but also very mindful of the fact that you have experienced a very deeply personal and emotional piece of music.

This is not an album to review after a mere couple of listens. It is not an album that you will particularly enjoy first time around. It is, though, an album which rewards a great deal of patience, and which grabs you as the product of a very talented writer and performer who is capable of taking you to a place from which it is difficult to extract yourself. You literally end up living the album, and that is no small praise for an artist most will not have really heard of. I predict that the next full album will blow us all away on the basis of this very impressive debut.

Four stars for this. An excellent addition to any prog collection, and I would state my appreciation to Chris for sending me the CD as a prizewinner on the monthly review competition on the site. Don't worry - that photograph will be sent to you very soon!

lazland | 4/5 |


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