The music business is only insincere if you buy into the idea that business side of it is an after thought to its artistic motivations. If you look at it is a business, just one that by and large has a pretty creative output, it’s as sincere as any kind of business can be.
The fact that sales matter, downloading is stealing, image does count for a lot and that perception is just as important as a great record doesn’t detract from the quality of the best music. It’s just how time has forced us to consume it.
I’m not a massive fan of the word “scene” when it comes to music. It’s not obvious what it really means in the context of underground music in 2015. Is your scene your city? The bands you sound like? Your country? The world? Your Facebook group? The people who actually come to your shows? The ones who buy records? The ones who click like?
Who knows? Who even cares. It’s simply a semantic argument about what support matters most. In fact, all that matters is support. Which is why the likes of “launch shows” are so important.
No Consequence have a habit of upping the game from one album to the next. I’ve no time for their first record, it was a bit convoluted and bursting with too many ideas. Not all of them good. Their second album, “I/O” was much better. They shed a vocalist, developed their ideas a bit and fine tuned their compositions a lot.
The quality of the musicianship in this band is pretty astounding. Their last album, “Guiding Lights”, was utterly flawless and totally beautiful. This show wasn’t quite that, but in retrospect that still makes it pretty special.
Skyharbor is a labour of love. They’re a band composed of members from three separate continents, they compose via the internet, their rehearsal time is presumably incredibly limited and frequently they don’t actually get to tour with all the members involved (this tour sees them sans their usual drummer). When you take all that into account, it’s astonishing that this band have ever taken to the stage.
It speaks volumes about the dedication to the music from the musicians involved, and the fans who want to hear these songs.
For all this amazing passion, this show isn’t quite as magic as the record from which the majority of the material is taken. Something feels missing, there’s a disconnect between the band’s more introspective moments and the heavier moments that robs both of their impact.
Possibly this feeling is partially due to unfair expectation. The band’s recorded material is stunning and the internet hype machine has been rolling strong in hyperbolic support of this band since the release of lead single “Evolution”. It would be difficult for any artist to live up to those expectations, especially when faced with Skyharbor’s geographical and logistical challenges.
That being said, it would be impossible to deny just how much so many of tonight’s audience get out of this show. Each track encourages impassioned sing alongs and the band’s playing is incredibly impressive. Guitar necks fly across the stage, shapes and thrown and beaming smiles are common place. Vocalist Daniel Tompkins displays a calm and gentle persona between songs which is pretty endearing and avoids every rock star cliché during his sublime and acrobatic vocal performances ( we even got a little scream here and there in “Celestial” which appealed to my less sophisticated nature) which helps to set the band apart from the progressive metal scene that they’ve all but left behind.
The proof of this is “Patience”. A truly beautiful song, that legitimately brought a tear to my eye during the show, which transcends the obvious trappings of both progressive music and metal music. It’s a track that feels like it would work as well stripped of all its instrumentation, or drowning beneath additional contributions, and that is no small feat. For a band so disconnected from the typical band scenario, it’s amazing that their music is so lush and well developed.
It wasn’t the perfect show, but it was a labour of love that puts the efforts of a lot of other bands to shame. And the tunes are naw half bad either.
A key issues needs to be addressed here: apparently “Juggernaut” isn’t a double album. It is is two separate albums. Released on the same day. The band intend for you to listen them together but it isn’t a double album. Apparently. Someone somewhere needs to sort their understanding of a double album out…
I loved Skyharbor’s debut record. For about six months. For some reason it kind of lost its shine for me after that. I don’t really know why. Though there were tracks I found myself revisiting when they turned up on shuffle, I legitimately can’t remember the last time I listened to that album from start to finish.
Conversely, since I received my press copy of “Guiding Lights” I can’t remember the last day I didn’t listen this album. It is, to be completely frank, nothing short of stunning.
Piano’s last EP was six years ago. Given the hyper-activity of their front-man this maybe isn’t all that surprising. Any artist is liable to change over time though, so the question is what resemblance do the Piano of 2014 bare to the Piano of 2008?
Progressive metal is rabidly becoming as overcrowded a genre d as nu metal and metalcore were before it, except it lacks the entertainingly naff fashion choices of both of those movements.But overcrowding can always be justified by the artists that make those genre’s so exciting that everyone wants to join in in the first place. Even only the strength of the opening track on “Language” The Contortionist might just become one of those bands.
The Will Smith based nature of this album is of prime of importance in the press release, so I feel compelled to make it a prime reference point for this review. So, is ‘OCTOPUS4′ as good as Will Smith? Well that depends. Is it as good as Ali? Absolutely not. Is it a lot better than’Wild Wild West’? Unquestionably. Is it as chest thumping as Independence Day? Almost. As inspirational as The Pursuit of Happiness? Not really. Will it be as timeless as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air? Doubtful. But it sounds as ridiculous, and as fun, as the fashion choices on that show.