Hughes, Steve - Once We Were-Part Two,
In December 2016, Steve followed up May’s ‘Part One’ with ‘Part Two’, and one can see why, as musically it follows a very similar style to the first one. The line-up is pretty much the same as well, although we are down to just two additional guitarists this time around (Dec and Keith), and Steve provides all the bass himself as Alex Tsentides didn’t return. Nine songs at more than fifty minutes in total length, but no massive epic this time, and only one song breaking the ten-minute mark. This is an even more accessible album than ‘Part One’, and again there are some incredible passages (such as on “Life’s A Glitch”) where the syncopated rhythmic attack really lifts this album to quite a different level.
ProgArchives classify Steve as neo-prog, and I totally understand why that decision has been made, but if it was sent to me to evaluate for Crossover then it would be a strong yes from me as it has such superb melodies within it. This is totally accessible and enjoyable prog music that just makes me smile every time I play it. There are hints of Jadis, hints of Camel, hints of Bruford, and even hints of fusion at times, but overall this is just an incredibly solid, incredibly enjoyable prog album.
I haven’t heard Steve’s debut album, but on the basis of these two I am going to have to go back and discover that, as both the ‘Once We Were’ albums are wonederful from beginning to end.