Loonypark - Perpetual,
Loonypark have long been one of my favourite Polish progressive rock bands, and one with an incredibly stable line-up. This 2016 release was their fourth album, and apart from the replacement of drummer Jakub Grzeslo after 2008’s debut, ‘Egoist’, it was the same as it was since the beginning namely singer Sabina Godula-Zając, Piotr Grodecki (guitar, double bass, banjo), Krzysztof Lepiarczyk (keyboards, programming, composer & arranger), Piotr Lipka (bass) and Grzegorz Fieber (drums). What we have here is extremely strong neo prog, but the band refuse to sit still so while opener “Something To Forget” is bombastic with great guitar lines, hooks and simple but effective keyboards leads, the follow-up “Face In The Mirror” is far more laid-back. This even features violin from guest Sylwia ‘Maya’ Majka until Piotr decides to ensure everyone is still awake as he crunches through.
Arrangements aren’t overly complex, and although this is progressive, at the heart is a rock band which is being controlled by the keyboard player who is happy to rely on piano as he is on other keyboards. Sabina has a warm rock voice which works well within the music as she sings in clear un-accented English. The result is a very approachable release, that contains some very strong moments indeed, although they do seem to be treading water at times when they slow it down. The band is definitely most in their element when they up the tempo, introduce more rock elements into their music, and there are times when they come across as a modern Simple Minds with guitar making inroads here and there as opposed to all the time. The use of banjo is surprisingly effective, as long as the intent is for the listener to smile when they hear it. Another solid album.