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RPWL: Tales From Outer Space

Although numerous live albums have come and gone in the meantime, it’s been five years since German prog smoothsters RPWL last regaled us with a studio album. During that time the protagonists have also revealed quite a number of solo endeavours and guest slots, so Yogi Lang (vocals), Kalle Wallner (guitar and now also bass), Markus Jehle (keys) and Marc Turiaux (drums) have hardly been idle. However, that they return with Tales From Outer Space should maybe explain where the majority of that time has been focused, a loosely based concept album now the order of the day as we look down on Earth and hope to decipher what any visitors from ‘out there’ would make of us. As ever with most good sci-fi, what’s actually going on here is that RPWL are holding a mirror up to us and asking if we like what we see, whether that be chaos, destruction, political madness or nepotism. Opening salvo “A New World” finds alien beings landing on our planet, encountering RPWL, being appalled by the lifeforms the band reveal us to be and quickly scarpering again. All the while the mid-paced slide of melodic prog that this band have long been specialists in plays out and welcomes you into a world that was first inhabited by Pink Floyd but which, in their long absence, RPWL have gleefully claimed to be their own.

“Welcome To The Freakshow” adds a sing along chorus that simply refuses to dislodge from the memory and quickly reminds how devastatingly catchy the music that this outfit produce can be - although the clatter-echo drums and surging keys might just be too overtly Floydian for those who prefer their influences to be nodded at rather than worshipped. A spacier (natch) lilt is added to the bending guitar themes that wish we were here during “Light Of The World” (where ex-Floyd and David Gilmour bassist Guy Pratt guests) but there’s no denying it’s also enigmatically uplifting. Whereas the terse violin strikes at the core of “Not Our Place To Be” add a tension that’s not often found in the RPWL armoury. Coming mid album and replete with a deeper gouge of guitars it’s a nice change of tack, even if the pace still refuses to go above steady and determined. The chiming guitars of “What I Really Need” make it difficult not to mention U2 as the notes are picked out clearly and a few more commercial ELP like crescendos add a poppier edge than might be expected, although when the theme returns mid-song, oddly, it’s actually synth era-Rush that springs to mind. The more sprawling “Give Birth To The Sun” allows ample time for Wallner and Jehle to truly stretch out as the instrumental sections bring touches of everyone from John Mitchell (Arena/Lonely Robot) to Jean Michel Jarre into play, before “Far Away From Here” pretty much takes us back to where we began, a slow, swooshing surge of Floyd to be found in the mood, tempo and guitar sound. In essence this is RPWL and once again the converted to their cause will be in full adulation of their heroes. Those that cry plagiarism will likely - and quite rightly - continue in the same vein. However, if they’d stop to listen they’d discover that Tales From Outer Space is, undoubtedly, rather good.

Track Listing
1. A New World

2. Welcome To The Freak Show

3. Light Of The World

4. Not Our Place To Be

5. What I Really Need

6. Give Birth To The Sun

7. Far Away From Home

Added: April 27th 2019
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Tales From Outer Space @ RPWL
Hits: 403
Language: english

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