It's not that often that you throw on a new review CD and with preconceived thoughts about how lame it is going to be, you then take those words back and humbly apologise. Such is the case with this very interesting new release from a multi instrumentalist called Larry Benigno a.k.a. Sonic Music.
The first thing that totally flawed me with this offering was the enormous variety within the songs themselves, the incredibly intricate arrangements and the simple fact that the entire experience is miles better than many bands can achieve with 3 or more members. Apart from a few token appearances here and there, this is, for all intents and purposes, a solo effort. And what an impressive effort it is.
To name some of the influences is probably a mandatory inclusion here but it is pretty evident that Larry has spent some considerable time listening to the major players in the industry. Yes, Genesis, Camel, Gentle Giant, Starcastle, Kayak, Triumvirate and so many more names are easily identifiable sources of inspiration both in the song smithing department but also in the fact that many of his themes are based upon keyboards rather than a heavier and sludgier attack from the guitar. It's not often you hear a very capable composer whose claim to fame leans more to the deft handling of the synths as well as Larry does. While many new and aspiring musicians opt for the guitar as their main instrument of choice, in Larry's case, he plays the whole shebang.
The synth work is right out of the 70's, the additional keyboard embellishments are strongly reminiscent of the sorts of things Roger Powell from Utopia and Anthony Phillips were doing while the vocals cover too much territory to name only one similarity. The drums are of the canned variety but rest assured, they are reasonably convincing and hardly detract from the whole experience.
Despite the brilliance of this album, I doubt whether poor Larry will shift a lot of product which will be more to do with marketing difficulties and public apathy rather than any musical inadequacies because there are simply none on this outrageously clever CD. If we, the fans, are to ever assist those talented musicians make a decent name for themselves, then it is essential we support those with the right formula. With this debut offering, you'd be getting more than your moneys worth. Recommended for fans of Fritz Doddy, Guy Manning and other like minded composers.
1. I'm Falling Down
2. Closer Than We've Ever Been Before
3. Please Do Not Lock The Door To Your Heart
4. The Prisoner
5. Johnny The Waffle Man
6. (Rodney) The Pelican From Pluto
7. I Know You Love Me
8. Ancient Hieroglyphics
9. Nothing That You Said
10. The Unknown Lover
11. Chasing My Tail Again
12. I See Paradise