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Arlekin: Disguise Serenades

There is something about pictures of clowns and jesters that suggest neo prog and that is exactly the case with Disguise Serenades, the first full length release from Ukraine project Arlekin, the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Igor Sidorenko.

When looking at the CD cover the first thing that came to my mind was the band Marillion and just like the artwork, the music contained within could be compared to that band. There is a great use of keyboards and synths adding many textural elements throughout these five tunes and it is almost mind boggling to think this is the music of just one musician. Not to be outdone, there is nice guitar work as well in the vein of soaring melodic solos, arpeggios and textural rhythms. As far as the vocals are concerned they are pretty emotive and certainly theatrical. They are heavily accented so some might take time getting used to that aspect but it wasn't really a problem for me. He reminded me of Fish in a couple of tracks especially in "Dance of the Jester" where the Marillion-esque guitar intro is incredibly catchy. More melodic guitar and keys highlight "Romance" whereas "In This Puzzled Roundabout" features floating keyboards with moody guitar and synths exuding a darker feel. The music builds and eases off with a nice ebb and flow before a much heavier sound envelops the listener almost venturing into doom territory. It is these unexpected turns that keep the music fresh and exciting.

The album ends with "Old Father East", a fourteen minute piece broken into two pieces showcasing melodic synth and guitar solos. The first four minutes is mellower neo prog and then the music stops for six minutes which leads to my main gripe. Why have six minutes of silence? There have been quite a few bands that have done this and it is always a minor annoyance. Okay, rant over. After the silence we get a sort of remixed version of the second track with lovely organ and keyboard motifs, subtle guitar work and emotive lead vocals. Again, the music hints very strongly of Marillion.

Obviously Disguise Serenades is not going to win an award for originality as the Marillion accents are plentiful. If that doesn't bother you and you like Marillion and neo/symphonic prog in general, my guess is you will really enjoy this.

Track Listing:
1. The Lost Path
2. Dance of the Jester
3. Romance
4. In This Puzzled Roundabout
5. Old Father East

Added: October 11th 2014
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Facebook Page
Hits: 1929
Language: english

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