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Lucassen, Arjen Anthony: Strange Hobby

Arjen Anthony Lucassen is best known for his progressive rock concept album project Ayreon. The band has produced some incredible albums and has led to other projects like Stream of Passion, Guilt Machine and the progressive metal juggernaut Star One.

In his formative years Lucassen was influenced by British and American psychedelic rock and pop music of the '60s and early '70s. Bands like The Kinks, The Who, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and Deep Purple among many others. Eventually Ayreon was formed and after their second album Actual Fantasy released in 1996, Lucassen needed another outlet for his muse and released Strange Hobby incognito as at the time his name wasn't attached to it. The album is not particularly well known but twenty years later and with four bonus tracks Lucassen has rereleased it to what is now a much wider audience.

There are twenty-two tracks and all are cover versions of artists and songs that have influenced him since the beginning. Lucassen doesn't mess too much with the core melodies and song structures as they remain quite faithful in that respect but these are much heavier versions dipped in a large vat of glam rock and laced with those patented heavy guitar riffs that he is so well known for. Two of my favourites are the Pink Floyd covers "See Emily Play" and "Arnold Layne" where Lucassen captures the spirit of the psychedelic era but has energized these classics with some monster guitar riffs. There is nary a misstep as I enjoyed every song including some great renditions of The Beatles classics "Norwegian Wood" and "For No One". Lucassen amps up the heaviness on the former and offers some nice psychedelic overtones on the latter.

This is a completely refreshing album by Mr. Lucassen and reveals his love and respect for these past greats as his treatment of these classic tunes is handled with great care. Recommended.

Track Listing:
1. Arnold Layne
2. Norwegian Wood
3. Pictures Of Matchstick Men
4. I Am A Rock
5. Boris The Spider
6. (Further Reflections) In The Room Of Percussion
7. Sunny Afternoon
8. See Emily Play
9. For No One
10. I Want You
11. Bus Stop
12. Flowers In The Rain
13. The Letter
14. Ride A White Swan
15. Sloop John B.
16. Daydream Believer
17. Catch The Wind
18. Ice In The Sun
Bonus Tracks:
19. Pretty Girls
20. In The Room Of Percussion
21. Last Train To Clarksville
22. Ruby Tuesday

Added: October 23rd 2016
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 1905
Language: english

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