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Monarch Trail: Skye

Named after a trail in the Dundas Valley in Ontario, Canadian trio Monarch Trail have released their first CD titled Skye. The band is Dino Verginella (bass), Chris Lamont (drums) and Ken Baird (keyboards, vocals). Baird has been around the music scene for many years and has five solo albums to his credit. It is unfortunate this talented musician has gone largely unrecognized in Canada which is a real shame. This new project plays symphonic progressive rock in the vein of bands like Glass Hammer, IQ and The Flower Kings.

Baird's wonderful synths and keyboards can be heard right from the opening first track, the eleven minute "Luminescence". This is symphonic prog in the vein of IQ and I totally dig it. The synths take you higher and higher before calmer pastoral moments of pure bliss reel you back in. Baird's vocals are also quite nice with his plaintive approach a good fit throughout the album. He doesn't have an overly powerful voice but he uses it wisely, never trying to go outside his range. "Silent World" is another symphonic delight with synths and keys dominating the soundscape. I really like the softer jazzy interludes led by Baird's piano keyboard. The outro guitar solo, compliments of guest musician John Mamone, is also well played. "East of Fifty" is maybe a little heavier with the guitar and synths weaving around the other creating a dynamic soundscape. The album ends with the twenty minute epic "Sky Above the Sun". Another great track starting with a singular piano keyboard before the synths enter from all angles providing a variety of colours and hues to the soundscape. The song shifts effortlessly between intense synth work to more pastoral passages ensuring boredom never sets in. The pretty classical guitar of Steve Cochrane provides a nice contrast to some of the most bombastic synth work on the album. Excellent stuff indeed.

Monarch Trail came out of nowhere and only goes to show there is some great prog coming out of Canada these days. Skye is highly recommended for fans of symphonic/neo progressive rock. Hopefully this trio will continue to make more great music in the years to come.

Track Listing:
1. Luminescence
2. Silent World
3. East of Fifty
4. Sky Above the Sun

Added: October 6th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 2536
Language: english

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