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Progress: Tulejää

You just know that a band called Progress will have a hugely satisfying retro sound, don't you? This Progress is from Estonia but they're also from the early seventies, or at least their influences are. Yes, they remind of early Beardfish but there's a deeper Psych edge involved here and a slightly unhinged approach that squints over its shoulder at a time when this music was cutting edges and gripping the edge of seats. This album, sung in the band's native language - something that adds to the energetic, controlled maelstrom - positively bursts with the energy and passion that bands forging the progressive sound once achieved. And with a rough edged but never loose production, the verve and vim that's behind their performances shines through at every turn.

That drive and power is never better shown than on the bouncing instrumental "Uus Plaan", the ability to incorporate big, almost loosely bounding themes into a track that's also small and intricate in detail, impressive. The tracks with vocalist (and saxophonist) Ragnar Kaasik are equally engaging, the sudden step into a big thick Sabbath like riff on "Kuu" countered by the melodic early Purple soothing that happens in-between. The vocals here, as they are throughout, are from the heart, veering from boisterous and bold to emotionally crackling and seldom less than full on, even when they are smooth and melodic. Not to be outdone the guitars wail, howl and strum lightly as the vast musical framework Progress proffer grows and evolves through mood and shape. This lot can also build a groove, "Musta Lipu All" grinding through hammond surges and a strident riff, before an uneasy swagger makes way for floating pings of melody. However they can also sit astride a smooth vibe that seduces and persuades, the album's closing title track an exquisite exercise in building a chaotic crescendo from a small, inviting base.

It's early days for this band who released their debut album Phillpuhujad in 2014 but have had their work together interrupted by serving time in their country's national service. However Tulejää is a bold and confident step forward that undoubtedly and confidently reaches back in time, while still being firmly fixed on the future.

Track Listing
1. Hirmul On Suured Silmad
2. Janu
3. Rahutus
4. Eksinud
5. Uus Plaan
6. Kuu
7. Musta Lipu All
8. Tulejää

Added: March 31st 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Progress on Facebook
Hits: 1324
Language: english

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