Nine Skies - 5.20 CD

"French progressive rock collective Nine Skies have been weaving their rock, jazz, classical and progressive influences for several years now – combining their acoustic instrumentation with deep, poignant and poetic lyrics. Their well-received 2017 debut Return Home looked at a range of different characters from modern city life. Their second album, Sweetheart Grips, released in late 2019, was a dense, complex and often heart-breaking exploration of the experience of a young soldier in the Second World War, and especially the tragedy of PTSD.
This latest release, 5.20, is still recognisably Nine Skies, but more introspective and delicate overall, and I feel this could well be their best album so far. They retain the plaintive, melancholic vocals and lyrical content, however the music is almost completely acoustic in nature on this occasion and yet has a layered depth, complexity and richness, with intertwining acoustic guitar and piano augmented by strings, flute, saxophone and rhythmic percussion. The musical journey is beautiful, yet challenging – dark and mournful, yet hopeful and uplifting as well. It demands your full attention, but you are fully rewarded by that commitment. Guest appearances by Steve and John Hackett and Damian Wilson are perfectly pitched, helping to create an excellent, contemporary and intimate exploration of the human condition, looking at life, death, faith, struggle, suffering, despair and, finally, hope. The shadow of the current pandemic somehow seems to be etched on the music, without the need to reference it overtly.
Nine Skies have produced a complex, challenging and yet beautiful album that is truly progressive and produces a power and depth at odds with the mainly acoustic approach. All the band combine wonderfully with the strings and guest musicians. The darkness of Anne-Claire’s powerful, poetic lyrics recounting struggles and despair at this time cannot fully shut out the uplifting vision they also point to, and the need for us all to somehow carry on. I recommend reading the lyrics as you listen, as the French accent does make the occasional word unclear and they are too good to let anything become lost. The album may not be to everyone’s taste, but I recommend giving it a listen (or three) before reaching any definitive conclusions, as I feel this could become one of the surprise packages of the year for many prog rock listeners"-The Progressive Aspect
  • LabelAnesthetize
  • UPC9780201370294
Your Price $16.00

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