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Canvas: Long Way To Mars

Canvas is led by talented multi-instrumentalist Matt Sweitzer (guitar, bass, organ, keyboards) and the equally as talented Chris Cobel (trumpet, vocals, keyboards, organ, vocals). Long Way To Mars is the follow up to their debut Digital Pigeon, released in 2008. The band is an offshoot of The October Tree who recently released the excellent album The Fairy's Wing. The music here is mostly melodic rock but the band has a very refined approach. In other words this is not your typical run of the mill rock. It is definitely more than that. There are also plenty of progressive moments to keep the prog heads satisfied.

One of the best parts of this album is the vocals. The first five tracks have no less than five different vocalists and they all offer good performances. Tammy Lounsberry deserves special mention as she is outstanding. Her smoky voice envelops the listener in the excellent "Brightest Star". Musically I hear elements of Pink Floyd, especially in the guitar work. Organ flourishes, crunchier rhythms and a lead guitar that tears apart the soundscape is what the band delivers in spades. In the album opening title track guest musician Mike Florio offers nice lead vocals fitting perfectly into the tracks laid back style. The lead guitar is excellent going from gritty leads to soaring melodic passages. Overall, the band has a real smooth sound. "Better" is another melodic rock gem with some big organ sounds while "Valkyrie Days" is a bit moodier with percolating keys and a nice laid back groove. This one has a bit of an On Air Alan Parson's vibe and ends with a sweet vocal arrangement. "Johnny Don't Know" is another excellent track with soaring lead guitar and jazzy keyboards reminding me of Steely Dan at times. Another highlight is the melodic "Scheherazade", a straight ahead rocker with more outstanding vocals from Tammy Lounsberry producing an earworm of the highest order.

Long Way To Mars should have tremendous crossover appeal for fans of melodic rock while prog fans should appreciate the band's sophisticated arrangements and top notch playing. Any way you slice it Canvas have carved out a real winner. Highly recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Long Way To Mars (4:18)
2. Better (3:00)
3. Brightest Star (4:52)
4. Valkyrie Days (6:54)
5. Johnny Don't Know (5:12)
6. Scheherazade (5:14)
7. Weather (5:48)
8. The Beginning Is Near (3:39)
9. Starry (3:57)
10. Modern Town (7:05)

Added: October 24th 2013
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1875
Language: english

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