Chain Reaktor - Homesick,
In some ways it is somewhat surprising that in the 70 years since Alan Freed started broadcasting what he termed “rock ‘n’ roll” on his radio show that we have not had more children following in their famous parents’ footsteps. Sure, it does happen, but not as much as one would expect, and it is even rarer for a parent and children to play in the same group, but that is exactly what we have here. When Erik Laan (keyboards, vocals, Silhouette) contacted me to see if I had heard about his new band, one could sense the pride in which he told me it also included his sons Bart (guitars, flute, vocals, Skylake) and Arjan Laan (drums, percussion, Skylake) with the line-up completed with bassist Mark Op Ten Berg along with a few guests. One of those is singer Suzan Van Den Enge who provides harmony vocals, also from Skylake (whose 2019 debut album I reviewed some time back).
This band happily straddle the heavy prog and neo-prog boundaries, creating music which is immediate and packed full of melodies. One might expect that given Erik has the most experience and is the most well-known musician then he would be taking the primary role, but this is an album of balance, with keyboards and guitar in equal state, each taking the lead and providing support as the need requires, while Mark and Arjan keep it tied down, both venturing into the forefront of the sound when the time is right. Then on top of that we have the vocals, which I find perfectly suited to the music and thoroughly enjoy the harmonies and multi-tracks when the time is right. There are some reviewers who have questioned these, as they may not be quite what some may expect, but I love the slight difference to the sound and within this context it works incredibly well indeed.
It is an album which screams “Class” from the very first time it is played, and it only gets better the more one listens to it. For any proghead who wants their genre to be melodic, modern, with some crunch yet still with plenty of keyboards then this is for you.