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Blueminded: When Lights Fade

It’s been two years since Blueminded asked us to Seize The Day and a lot has changed. Always led by guitarist and songwriter Jörgen Koenen, the band slowly disintegrated after the release of one of the most underrated Pop/Rock/Prog albums of recent times. Singer Rob Rompen and bassist Franco left the ranks and slowly Jörgen turned Blueminded into a solo act; albeit one still supplemented by other musicians. That isn’t all that’s changed…

It would be no exaggeration to suggest that through their debut EP and album Blueminded have been one of the most exciting musical discoveries to come my way over the past few years. However with the wider Melodic Rock scene remaining resolutely unmoved Koenen has changed his focus somewhat. Gone, for the large part, are the upbeat, uplifting AOR driven anthems and in their place a much more pensive and, dare I say, grown up outlook appears.

Ironically Rompen is back behind the mic and back giving his best, although he maybe offers a slightly more laid back side to his vocal array this time out. The rest of the band consists John Eijkenboom on drums, Michiel Hartholt on a variety of keyboards and Richard Ritterbeeks on bass, and all three do a superb job of bringing Koenen’s new vision into focus.

“In My Head” slowly weaves its way into being, a deep, patient guitar building into a mid-paced groove that hints at a downbeat Cutting Crew. The clever guitar work adding colour to what is a surprisingly contained opener. The influence of The Police is revealed on the equally contained “Can’t Beat The Time”, although here a slightly more urgent chorus hints at what this outfit offered us before. In all honesty, as someone who struggles to connect with any form of reggae, that the beats and bites of guitar rely on that feel during the verses here, has left me a little flummoxed. Released as the lead single “Don’t Tell Me” heads in another direction altogether, staccato bursts of Andrew Farriss like guitar immediately leaving you asking if this is an INXS cover. It isn’t, but what it is, is a thoroughly fantastic piece of adult Pop. With its pensive keys and sing along chorus “Mercy” continues the earlier themes but with a little more vigour; before “Let Me Go” and “Native Ground” add some Progressive moments. The latter especially landing somewhere between The Police and Peter Gabriel. Something “Come Back Again” builds strongly on, whereas “Run Into My Arms” plays to past strengths by being a glorious, rich Melodic Rock monster.

When Lights Fade is a slow grower of an album and as a huge fan of what this band did before, something of a surprise. Neither of those things are necessarily bad moves and taken on its own merits, what Blueminded have crafted here is an incredibly interesting, if unexpected, slice of mature Rock.

Track Listing
1. In My Head
2. Can’t Beat The Time
3. Don’t Tell Me
4. Mercy
5. Let Me Go
6. Run Into My Arms
7. Native Ground
8. Walk On Water
9. Coming Back Again

Added: May 13th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Blueminded on Facebook
Hits: 1852
Language: english

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