Review Erik Neuteboom
Birth is a new four piece prog band from the USA, but Conor Riley (vocals, synthesizer, electric piano, organ and acoustic guitar) and Brian Ellis (guitar,
electric piano and percussion) were members from the “vintage keyboard soaked” band Astra (The Weirding from 2009 and The Black Cord from 2010), the other musicians are Trevor Mast (bass), and Paul Marrone (drums), after this debut album replaced
by Thomas DiBenedetto. According to the band info the music features elements from “the dark and magisterial King Crimson of ‘Red’ herein, as well as the yearning cadences of early Yes and the delirious contortions of Van Der Graaf Generator,
a whole host of influences made their presence felt in these mournful cadences, joyful solo passages and kinetic freakouts, from '70s mainstays like Aphrodites Child, Premiata Formeria Marconi and Area to the primitive folk of Robbie Basho and the symphonic
soundtrack work of Osanna.”
This interesting and varied debut albums starts with the short track Born (4:48), very melodic and harmonic, with flowing shifting moods, embellished with Hammond organ, Mellotron (choir – and violin section)
and sensitive electric guitar runs, in the second part a long and moving guitar solo.
In the dynamic Descending Us (6:55) the focus is on the guitar, from twanging and spacey to moving and fiery, blended with Mellotrons, and topped with a strong rhythm-section.
Halfway the music culminates in bombastic and compelling with excellent interplay and an exciting guitar solo.
For Yesterday (9:14) reminds me of Seventies Barclay James Harvest, due to the lush Mellotron sound (tons of choirs), dreamy vocals, spacey
MiniMoog and moving electric guitar work. Halfway a mellow climate with Hammond, MiniMoog flights with pitchbend and Mellotron choirs (vintage keyboards rule!), and finally another moving guitar solo.
The atmosphere in Cosmic Tears (7:41) alternates
between hypnotizing, mid-tempo and psychedelic with lots of strong musical ideas, and tastefully coloured with MiniMoog, electric piano, Hammond, and of course Mellotrons, these guys are obvious fellow Tron-maniacs, haha! The second part first delivers a heavy
and bombastic sound with rock guitar, then in the end tender electric piano (evoking The Doors), blended with jazzy electric guitar, what a variety.
Another Time (5:36) changes between mellow and bombastic, the contrasting climates creates a lot of
tension in the music. From a spacy guitar sound and soaring Hammond with melancholical vocals to a bombastic eruption with rock guitar, powerful vocals and a propulsive rhythm-section. From dreamy with sensitive electric guitar and slow drum beats to a heavy
outburst bombastic eruption with compelling interplay rock guitar and Mellotron violins, and fuelled by powerful rhythm-section. Finally Hammond organ joins, topped with fiery guitar runs.
The final composition Long Way Down (7:17) reminds me of early
King Crimson (Red era) but also Nineties Anekdoten. I am blown away by the blistering guitar play, with elements from the Fripperian ‘guitar chainsaw sound’, in a dark and heavy atmosphere, and fuelled by propulsive rhythm-section.
what a debut, highly recommended!