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Narcisi; Ian: The Story Of Blue: Introduction

Ian Narcisi doesn't do things by halves; he does them by thirds! Hence The Story Of Blue: Introduction is the first of three (part two, The Journey, is also reviewed on these pages, with the third due later this year) conceptually linked albums revolving around the character Blue, who through endless trials, tribulations and mystic mentors, finds who he really is. The inspiration coming from India's Vidic truths, which Narcisi became fascinated by during a visit to that country.

Undoubtedly it's an interesting starting point and yet for someone who knows little of the basis behind the concept, I'm not sure how much I was actually able to grasp from the lyrics, other than the hard journey Blue has to undertake. That aside, Narcisi certainly knows how to take you on a musical journey, bright melody always at the heart of some, at times, hard hitting themes. Pop-prog with a psychedelic sheen comes close to describing much of what you'll find here, electric piano a pleasantly unusual starting point for many of the tracks. Something which lends an 80s bent to a 60s formula that still sounds reasonably current. Vocally Narcisi is easily capable of darting from heartfelt story teller to angry barking although always delivered in a clean, crisp style. Special mention too must be given to his excellent keyboard and drum work, the latter especially an unexpected highlight, while the guitar display from Dave Bowers and bass from Erik Swanson is simply sublime.

Add in stunning artwork from Samuel Kirkman and the table is set for something quite magnificent to be served up - and yet Introduction never quite delivers on that promise. Don't get me wrong, well crafted sounds performed by excellent musicians ensures that nothing here falls below the required standard and yet for long periods Introduction sounds like exactly that, a lengthy preamble that never quite reaches its destination, or provides a big pay off. "Inward" is uplifting and expansive, "Left Behind" impressively bullish and fragile at the same time while "Detached" provides a threatening edge much of the lighter material lacks. However once everything is over, there's a nagging feeling that none of it has quite lived up to its potential, or provided the memorable slaps you presumed were coming your way.

In the end it's quite hard to put a score on The Story Of Blue: Introduction. I've enjoyed it and in places there's no denying just how skilled and crafted an album it is. However once it ends, there's not much that pulls you back into this intricate world and demands you stick around. And yet I can't quite get away from the fact that there's much here to be impressed by...

Track Listing
1. Blue Born
2. Welcome
3. Detached
4. Onward
5. Left Behind
6. Transcendence
7. Inward

Added: June 11th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ian Narcisi on Facebook
Hits: 1564
Language: english

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