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Papagno, Mark: The Man Whom The Trees Loved

Any album that can boast the percussive skills of Marco Minnemann immediately piques my interest, the man a powerhouse behind the kit who always brings everything he's got to any project he's involved in. With fellow Steven Wilson alumni Adam Holzman handling all manner of keyboards, and Minnemann's The Aristocrats band mate Bryan Beller also part of The Man Whom The Trees Loved, talent is one thing this album does not lack for. The reason they've all convened is project main-man Mark Papagno, an American guitarist who has written all of the tracks on this instrumental album, three of them with the help of Holzman.

With that band make up, you'd maybe expect Papagno to be a maestro of shredding proportions, or an out and out riff master, yet across this gently progressive album, that's never really what breaks out of some tightly crafted songs. Well, I say songs, but without lyrics, that's not really true and yet for an instrumental album, this enigmatically titled collection is more 'song' based than you might anticipate. In fact so much so, you could probably suggest that a few of the selections would actually benefit from some lyrics, or at least some vocal textures.

Overall, the sound reminds of a less forceful Spock's Beard trading licks with a less clinical Rush, the album's title track a more effusive burst of guitars, proving Papagno to be quite a talent when the mood takes him. The main niggle however is that it doesn't appear to tickle his fancy quite as often as it maybe should. For those turned off by effusive guitar dominated fare, that fact actually might prove a boon, but for the rest of us it can cause "When The Rain Begins" or "Because Of Sleep And Because Of The Cats" to be more uneventful than they really should. In the end it makes for a pleasant, unobtrusive album that remains unusually understated and poised, but one that can be seen to possibly under use the talent at its disposal. All, that is, except for Minnemann, who uncompromisingly brings his unabashed A-game and in the process steals the show as he dominates his surrounds. The Man Whom The Trees Loved a title that feels unexplained even after numerous listens to this album has a lot about it to recommend, even if it ultimately feels like a slightly missed opportunity.

Track Listing
1. The Listener
2. Where Memory Sleeps
3. Darkness Falls
4. When the Rain Begins
5. Ritual
6. Because of Sleep and Because of the Cats
7. The Man Whom the Trees Loved
8. The Vanishing

Added: June 4th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: The Man Whom The Trees Loved at CD Baby
Hits: 1022
Language: english

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