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Narcisi; Ian: The Story Of Blue: The Journey

Following on from Introduction, and the precursor to the final instalment due later this year, The Story Of Blue: The Journey continues the voyage of self discovery Blue finds himself on. To bring this tale into being, talented vocalist, drummer and keyboard player (all three aspects vital here) Ian Narcisi is again accompanied by bassist Erik Swanson, guitarist Dave Bowers and illustrator of the stunning artwork that accompanies these releases, Samuel Kirkman. Joining the voyage this time is tabla player Dhananjay Kunte, adding more Eastern flavours to an album that in lyrical ethos runs deep with them.

As you'll see from my review of Introduction, I found that album to be a conundrum of excellent ideas that don't always come to fruition. Truth be told, it is also a feature here, however with a little more of an eye on the prize both in terms of how the story is revealed and the music helping with the revealing The Journey brings you much closer to your destination. Narcisi again proves an able and diverse vocalist, but where the main difference shines through this time is by how much easier it is to fully grasp the songs and draw them into your mind. "Dawn", where Kunte makes a strong rhythmical impression, surges into view through a mesmerising pattern that has you transfixed, while "Beyond" brings a grandiose feel through majestic, foreboding piano work that actually reminds a little of Muse. As the songs segues into "Olympus Mons", the atmosphere grows and grows a sudden aggressive interlude heightening the impact becoming both the album's centre piece and high point, while Bowers' guitar solo is quite wonderful.

Elsewhere the 60s pop meets 70s prog via a little psychedelic haze often slips into the same vein as this album's predecessor; dreamy themes and interesting little melodies allowed to play out without fully forming into the unforgettable pieces some of this album proves Narcisi and his ensemble are capable of. Although, that said, this time The Journey is an engaging album that contains one or two rather wonderful moments and hints at the potential undoubtedly possessed by this project.

With the third and concluding album due later this year, hopefully The Story Of Blue blossoms into the grand, memorable piece that you always feel it can, but never quite does. If you actually begin this voyage with The Journey and then venture back to The Introduction (while confusing the story), musically things do make a little more sense.

Track Listing
1. Fall Away
2. Dawn
3. Pieces
4. Beyond
5. Olympus Mons
6. Song Of The Saints
7. Come Of Age (New Sun)

Added: June 11th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ian Narcisi on Facebook
Hits: 2190
Language: english

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