Finally we have a mature and very accomplished piece of work from a band that had slipped under the radar for far too long. Saens has been hard at work putting the finishing touches to this album that has recently been released on the Cyclops label.
Moving on from their previous album, "Prophet in A Statistical World" delivers 2 long suites of extremely well composed music that feature some excellent lead guitar work, a plethora of keyboards and some truly anthemic choral sections that have enabled Saens to establish themselves proudly amongst those bands who seem to be delivering the right message. This is a great improvement on their earlier album, "Escaping From The Hands Of God".
Vocals, while not particularly melodic are very engaging and powerful. While not as theatrical as the style of lyrical delivery we have come to expect from bands like Ange, the impact is still very relevant and somewhat pleasing to the ear. The different tonalities of both the vocalists, Pascal Bouquillard and Vynce Leff are very clever as in one instance they sing in total harmony and unison with each other while just as quickly juxtaposing this method to great effect, a moment later. It has to be said that the vocals and clever use of lyrical effects helps to tie this album together in a very complete manner.
Drawing influences from Yes with inspired guitar work in a slightly similar vein to Steve Howe, the developmental skills of the song writers comes to the fore as each long suite unfolds. Being broken down into 5 and 7 individual components, these 2 long epics allow the themes to become fully appreciable with the added appeal of plenty of inspired synthesizer work in a number of tracks, particularly "Lenina" with some blistering sections throughout. The guitar work in :Forbidden Dreams" and also "Welcome" is also worthy of note.
Influences are pretty hard to fully diagnose but I seem to detect some desire on the part of the band to appeal to those fans who appreciate the stylistic and holistic approach that bands like The Flower Kings deliver with each long and drawn out album that they release. The track, "Time Machine" approximates the basic ideas that one appreciates when listening to The Flower Kings however; there is certainly no intentional attempt at being derivative or plagiaristic here. Saens certainly have developed their own very mature sound.
It did take me a while to fully digest every nuance of this album but after a number of intense listens under the Sennheisers, the subtleties began to become a lot more apparent. As much as I have slowly begun to admire the better qualities of this album, there remains a basic problem of a lack of memorable melodies with some of the songs which may hinder your level of appreciation. Also the 10th track, "The Prophet" drags on for far too long. All in all, however, this is a pretty good attempt at trying to bridge the gap between the older 70's sound with some more up to date ideas and in the process gathering a larger fan base for the next round of improvements that will surely follow. This could be a band to watch in the future.
A: Dystopian Dream
2. Suite n0 2 (Bach)
4. Time Machine
5. Forbidden Dreams
B: Prophet In A Statistical World
7. Statistical World
8. I Wanna Be Free
9. Libera Me
10. The Prophet