Once again Svart Records gives us another pleasant surprise, this time in the guise of UK act Messenger and their debut release Illusory Blues. Comprised of Khaled Lowe (guitar, vocals), Barnaby Maddick (guitar, vocals), Jaime Gomez Arellano (drums), Dan Knight (guitar, keyboards), and James Leach (bass), Messenger have delivered a lovely, lush, and melodic set of folk, progressive rock, pop, and psychedelia here on Illusory Blues. Metal this certainly isn't, as breezy keyboards, violins, shimmering guitars, and dreamy vocals permeate these seven songs, taking the listener on an alluring journey of sounds and emotions. Hints of The Beatles, Porcupine Tree, mid period Ulver, Anathema, and even Pink Floyd pop up from time, but Messenger does have their own sound, and it's fairly unique and intoxicating. Whether it's the lush, trancelike "Piscean Tide", the soothing, dreamy "The Perpetual Glow of a Setting Sun", or the mix of harder edge prog with lush folk and zippy space rock that is "Midnight", there's quality music around every corner. For memorable, clever Brit-pop, just check out "Somniloquist", and "Let the Light In" lulls you into an ambient state of tranquil bliss. Also, check out that soaring flute alongside enchanting acoustic guitars and poignant vocals on "The Return"...just wonderful.
I don't normally go for stuff like this, but Illusory Blues is quite simply gorgeous from beginning to end. Great vocals and lush musical passages make for an all around feel good album that should appeal to any prog fan.
1) The Return
2) Piscean Tide
3) Dear Departure
4) The Perpetual Glow of a Setting Sun
7) Let the Light