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Touchstone - The City Sleeps CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.86 | 87 ratings

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4 stars This is the third studio album from this UK band Touchstone, planned to be released in January 2012, however, thanks to Freeman Promotions I am able to listen and review it already. To be honest, this was my introduction to the band, so I cannot give you a context nor compare with their previous works (which is something good, actually), so I will only focus on the album itself. Entitled "The City Sleeps", it contains ten compositions and a total time of one hour.

"Corridors" is the one that opens the album, and since the first seconds we will notice that the band has a strong keyboard sound. After one introductory minute the female vocals appear accompanied by nice bass lines and guitars. Then the track begins to progress and show its road; after some minutes it becomes more intense and emotional. Cool first song.

"When Shadows Fall" is the first of two epics included in the album, this one with a length of ten minutes. It starts with a futuristic sound created by keyboards, I clearly imagine a spaceship in another galaxy, finding its way home, or trying to achieve something, haha, that is why I love music, my imagination really works. After two minutes there is a moment where everything stops, and then a delicate piano appears and a new structure begins. Just before the third minute the prominent keyboards appear and create what I would call modern symphonic sound (though it is reminiscent of older bands, I know), until that moment everything is perfect, but?later where vocals appear the rhythm changes and becomes really light, catchy and even poppish, but well, fortunately it is only in a short part of the track. Later it changes, slows down and takes to another place, here, on the other hand, the voice makes a beautiful sound accompanied by piano and guitars. After six minutes, now a male voice appears with a charming tone, following the music's path. The last part of the track is emotional, full of colors and elements that help us finishing our journey. What a wonderful song!

"These Walls" has a rockier style, closer to hard rock, with cool guitar and bass sound, along with great drums and keyboards. The woman's voice is actually very good, however, I can't say I love it, no, in moments I would actually prefer the pure instrumental passages. This short song is not that good, and it negatively contrasts with the previous track, which was a gem, this one is just a simple track. "Throw them to the Sky" shares a first minute of tranquility, but later it becomes heavier and faster, the guitars show their roots and inspirations. Here we can listen once again to both, male and female voices interacting and making a unit, one voice together. The song is gradually progressing until reaching its climax in the final part.

"Sleeping Giants" is a mellow track, with piano and male vocals, later female joins and begin to build up the track. That tranquility ceases after two minutes when keyboards appear and take the leading role for some seconds, however that sensation of charm prevails during the whole track, creating a strong composition that I particularly loved. "Good Boy Psycho" has a bombastic keyboard and guitar sound, accompanied by powerful drums for the first seconds, later female vocals appear and the music slows down and becomes lighter. This track has good changes in time and mood, and a diversity of sounds in every passage. What I like of the album is that rhythmical change inside the tracks, and between tracks. "Horizons" has a charming and beautiful beginning with delicate female vocals; then it changes a little bit and the rhythm increases, now with the addition of a male voice. Then it returns to its original form and then again it changes and produces new sounds and introduces several elements that make us create our own images once again; there is a nice keyboard solo after four minutes. . "Half Moon Meadow" continues with the gently and comfortably sound created by female vocals; the compositional skills of the band are really good, so far with the diversity of the tracks and their structure, that is something evident. In this song, after three minutes there is an explosive passage with a powerful sound, wonderful guitar riffs and a cool keyboard oriented moment.

"The City Sleeps" is the longest composition with twelve minutes length; it is the album's representative track, and another example of Touchstone's quality. The first introductory minute is instrumental, with nice keyboards, later vocals appear and a new structure is being built and progressing little by little. Here I like a lot the drums and its versatility, also the piano that delicately sounds as background while vocals and strings work as fore. After six minutes the song changes and retakes that spacey or futuristic sound, now with female spoken word. Later it changes again, it is like a novel and its chapters, the only thing you should do is imagine them. The album finishes with "Corridors Epiphany", two friendly minutes with a repetitive but addictive sound, purely instrumental.

Touchtone is giving us a good material, worth checking out, so when it is released, I recommend you to buy it. My final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

memowakeman | 4/5 |


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