Marsh, Rhys: Sentiment
Having recently reviewed I by Norwegian dark proggers Kaukasus, I was quite excited to give this one a listen. The artist is Rhys Marsh of The Autumn Ghost and Kaukasus and the album is Sentiment, his first solo effort.
Sentiment is a true solo effort as Marsh sings and plays everything himself. Often the problem with this format is there may be parts of the music that are not quite up to snuff due to limitations of said musician. My intent is not to slight musicians but to reveal how hard it is to pull off these ventures. I am relieved to say that Marsh has succeeded in creating a terrific art rock/dark prog album deeply rich in sonic textures and moody atmospheres. The music is built around the warm tones of Marsh's expressive lead vocals. His melancholic delivery perfectly meshes with the music's darker stylings.
The album's first track "Calling in the Night" reinforces all that is right with this album; commanding vocals, stop/start synth laced rhythms adding orchestral splendor and a sense of urgency both musically and vocally. A superb first track.
"Burn the Brightest Day" keeps the momentum going with a persistent bass/drum groove extending the entire piece. More classy stop/starts, Mellotron and overall quite melodic. Again, there is a vibrancy here that is undeniable.
"Pictures of Ashes" alternates between breezy, almost wistful instrumentation including Mellotron flutes and thicker slabs of more intense orchestrations. Marsh's deeper lower range vocals are intoxicating.
Easing the intensity is the reflective "The Ghost Ship" with its gently flowing groove and atmospheric soundscapes although the intensity level does increase towards the end.
"In the Sand" is a grooving little piece that ramps up the orchestral moments with fuzzy chords and deep sonic textures. Lyrically, it almost reminds me of what Morrissey might put to paper.
"Last November" is another excellent display of harmonic beauty featuring lush walls of orchestration and Marsh's expressive vocals. The melody just might etch into your brain and stay a while.
"Silver Light & Blackened Eyes" starts mellow with playful electric piano and understated vocals before dramatic Mellotron swells take over the soundscape. It is these breathtaking moments of contrast that make this album so rewarding.
At roughly forty-one minutes this is not a long album but Marsh puts every second to good use not wasting a single moment. If you feel drawn to the darker side of progressive rock Sentiment should reveal enjoyment with each successive spin. Released on Autumnsongs Records.
1. Calling in the Night (3:25)
2. Burn the Brightest Day (3:19)
3. Pictures of Ashes (3:50)
4. The Seventh Face (4:49)
5. The Ghost Ship (6:11)
6. In the Sand (3:49)
7. Last November (5:07)
8. Silver Light & Blackened Eyes (5:30)
9. Give Me (What You Need) (5:23)
Added: March 23rd 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
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