Yuka & Chronoship: Dino Rocket Oxygen
For a moment there I thought I was holding the upcoming Yes album (soon to released) in my hands. I could swear this is a Roger Dean cover. Then I noticed the name of the band, Yuka & Chronoship, who are completely new to me. The band hails from Japan and includes Yuka Funakoshi (keyboards, vocals), Takashi Miyazawa (guitar, choir), Shun Taguchi (bass, choir) and Ikko Tanaka (drums).
When I first saw the album I was not sure what to make of it but there are lots of good bands coming out of Japan these days, so…I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. These four musicians can really play. Fanakoshi is a verifiable wiz on synths and Mellotron as she leaves her signature runs and washes all over the albums eleven tracks. Emerson, Banks and Wakeman all came to mind at various times. The bassist and drummer are no slouches either propelling the music into the stratosphere when the need arises and the guitarist, although not in the spotlight as much as the keys, shows beautiful restrain as his solos are classy and melodic.
The album is divided into three suites; "Dinosaurs", "R is for Rocket" and "Oxygen". The "Dinosaurs suite" has a retro progressive rock feel. The first track "Which Came First, The Dinosaur Or The Egg?" starts with a pulsating heartbeat before a wonderful synth line takes hold, taking me back to the glory days of Genesis. This one has Tony Banks written all over it. The drama continues with "Dance With Dinosaurs" featuring guitar and keyboards in unison followed by synth and guitar solos. In "Ruler Of The Earth" the keyboards have a classical bent and the Moog solo is outstanding before the suite ends with the returning heartbeat, just as it began.
The "Rocket suite" is highlighted by some real melodic gems like the keyboard heavy "Skygazer", the nod to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is very smart and the ultra-catchy "Blue Astronaut Helicopter", an uplifting track with scintillating Moog lines.
Last but not least is the "Oxygen suite" beginning with "O" and its starting calypso percussion groove and variation between heavy and soft motifs. Beautifully played piano and wind effects augment the relaxing "O2" before becoming entwined with heavier riffs. "O3" ends the album with another fine slice of melodic retro prog and a nice balance between guitar and keys. The higher pitched vocals of Funakoshi may be an acquired taste but I personally like them as they complement the music rather well.
Yuka & Chronoship have really hit one out of the park with Dino Rocket Oxygen. Finely crafted retro-prog for all to enjoy. I hope you dig it as much as I do.
1. Which Came First, The Dinosaur Or The Egg? (2:13)
2. Dance With Dinosaurs (7:32)
3. Ruler Of The Earth (4:12)
R is for Rocket suite:
4. Cutting Gravity (7:04)
5. Skygazer (6:17)
6. An Arrow Of Glittering Music (1:48)
7. Blue Astronaut Helicopter (3:49)
8. Beyond The Fence (5:33)
9. O (5:03)
10. O2 (6:23)
11. O3 (7:30)
Added: April 30th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
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