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Persona Grata: Reaching Places High Above

If you love music you've probably experienced, at least once, that magical moment of hearing something so new and fresh that it took two or three listens just so your brain could begin to comprehend and classify the sounds flowing through your ears. Bruford's Earthworks did that to me. There I was expecting to hear something akin to Gradually Going Tornado or One Of A Kind, and then ka-blam, E-flat horn and electronic drums?? What?? Plus a cover of Petula Clark's "Downtown"?? The amount of question marks directly correlates to the level of magic in that moment.

Well, I'm sorry to disappoint as Persona Grata's debut, Reaching Places High Above, is not one of those magical listens. However, it is a collection of songs resembling some recent magical moments. This may take some explaining. Remember when Haken and Leprous burst on to the scene with their new brand of Progressive Metal, well Persona Grata capture that sound perfectly on their opening track, "Ace". Do you recall when bands like Orphaned Land, Arkan and Nile melded Eastern influences into their brand of Metal, well Persona Grata provide a great take on that with "Orient Express". The closer, "I Am You", is an epic that harkens back to early Flower Kings and Spock's Beard. I know what you're thinking, "Why do I need this when I have all the originals?" You don't, but you'd be missing out on a great album that covers the spectrum of what we've become to know as modern Prog.

Reaching Places High Above is a great listen. Compositionally interesting and varied throughout with good use of found sound and foreign motifs. The players are craftspeople, handling non-traditional instruments well enough to transport the listener to another time and place. I found myself rocking to the heavier tunes, "Ace" and "I Am You", and journeying to lands faraway while listening to "Venice", "Istanbul" and "Orient Express". I can't put it more bluntly than this album is just plain fun to experience and I know already it will be in heavy rotation!

Track Listing
1. Ace 7:03
2. Edge of Insanity 12:17
3. Istanbul 2:55
4. Orient Express 9:31
5. Venice 1:04
6. I Am You 14:10

Added: December 21st 2013
Reviewer: Eric Marvin
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2217
Language: english

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