Roussak, Andrew - Crossing The Line,
I first came across multi-instrumentalist Andrew when he was keyboard player with Dorian Opera, and recall reviewing his solo debut album all the way back in 2008. This is his third since then and although I did miss 2010’s ‘Blue Intermezzo’ I did hear 2019’s ‘Storm Warning’, but while that had some guests, we are now back to Andrew doing everything himself. 13 years is a long time in anyone’s life, and when one is an active musician many changes can take place, and I am amazed at just how far Andrew has moved since the debut. There are seven pieces, two of which are instrumental (one of which is an adaption of a classical piece, which is something he had done previously), and as before he has been influenced by two keyboard players, namely Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson.
It is in the lighter keyboard sections and piano usage where he comes across as the former, and the more bombastic where he comes across as the latter, but what also puts this ahead of his other works is the way the vocals and rock elements all come together. I have been critical of his singing in the past, but here it works perfectly with the music, which at times feels like a cross between 3 and Rick Wakeman’s work with his rock band. I have been playing this album far more than I normally would when reviewing, and find I enjoy it more each time I listen to it. It is modern sounding, almost commercial at times, bringing in elements which are reminiscent of the 90’s American prog scene while combining it with melodic rock and then throwing in some wonderful old-fashioned stylings. Less symphonic prog than crossover, or possibly even Neo, there is a lot on here to enjoy and for my ears is certainly the best album I have heard of his to date. His name may not be well known even with prog circles but this is a release which should change that.