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Retrospective: Latent Avidity

Latent Avidity. It’s an apt album title for a band who, on the evidence of their latest outing, deserve so much more acclaim than that which has so far come their way. Yes, Retrospective are following in the well worn footprints of the likes of Collage and Riverside in purveying undoubted Polish prog ponderings. And yet with this, the band’s fourth album this quintet are asking new questions and dare I say, setting new standards.

There’s no doubt that the success of Riverside in reaching a wider European audience informs much of the basis behind Retrospective but melancholy and despair are much less central to Latent Avidity via a set of songs that are driven by diverse beats and delivered with a much more contemporary edge. Don’t get me wrong, there are elements of neo-prog dotted throughout this album and there’s no denying that the likes of Arena and Threshold would be great stage-mates for this band. However, with clever arrangements and the use of little embellishments such as owl hoots, telephone tones and the chirps of grasshoppers there’s a real 360 degree feel to what this band are about. There are choruses you can sing along to. There are instrumental sections to drop jaws to. And they are presented with a production that sparkles intently even on the darkest of winter nights. However, that all of this comes replete with the percussive mastery of Robert Kusik is why one of my younger daughters was just as engaged in listening to this album as I was. Interestingly she picked out much more modern elements than my baggage laden ear detected and while I regaled likenesses to a host of late 90s/early 00s prog acts, so she mentioned such things as power, pop and punk. Now don’t let that scare you off, but I get where she’s coming from, what with the synthesised undercurrent and thoroughly modern snare snaps positively popping from the speakers. However when the guitar work from Maciej Klimek chimes as though its the timely tolling of an Alan Parsons masterwork during “Programmed Fear”, there’s no point in denying that all of these aspects are an amalgam brought together in a way that will instantly inspire prog heads new and old.

Each of this band get their moment in the sun, with the keyboards from Beata Łagoda allowed to both set scenes and dominate as the mood dictates, while bassist Łukasz Marsza�'ek absolutely towers over “In The Middle Of The Forest”. Even with all that in mind, it’s the twin vocals from Jakub Roszak and Łagoda that make everything quite as ear catching as it is. The former has long been the band’s vocal focal point and yet, as time has passed so the singing contribution of the lady behind the keys has really looked to differentiate this band from the ever growing pack. “Loneliness” finds her handling lead vocals and it’s no exaggeration to say that it’s one of the best I’ve heard all year. With what would appear to be this band’s signature ability to push a laid back excursion on with real intent, she proves the perfect foil for the echoes of guitars and unobtrusive but almost dance-like beats - the cleverness of the intricacies on the high-hat and snare ghost notes yet another kay factor in the success of everything presented here. Roszak is, however, no slouch himself, with his vocals on the ten minute-plus album closer “What Will Be Next” utterly involving.

Latent Avidity is one of my progressive highlights of the year. Dripping with melody and almost instantly reminding of this genre’s more recent heroes, while forging new paths, territories and approaches all of its own.

On this evidence Retrospective have come of age and deserve to be viewed as one of the next decade’s great prog hopes.

Track Listing
1. Time
2. Still There
3. Loneliness
4. The Seed Has Been Sown
5. Stop For A While
6. In The Middle Of The Forest
7. Programmed Fear
8. What Will Be Next

Added: August 14th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Latent Avidity @ bandcamp
Hits: 1079
Language: english

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Retrospective: Latent Avidity
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-08-15 05:10:15
My Score:

Here is a fantastic release from 2019.

Polish progressive rock band Retrospective released Latent Avidity almost a year ago and although I am a bit late to the party this album was certainly a highlight from last year. The band has that melancholic sound that many bands from the area seem to express and in that way I suppose they could be compared to their compatriots Riverside. This band has no weak points, at least to my ears and this latest disc proves it. The vocals, melodies and musicianship are as classy as it gets and each band member contributes equally to the whole. The playing may not be as flashy as some other bands within the genre but each musician serves the song, and there are a bunch of great tracks to be found.

The album begins with a short intro “Time”, and yes, there is a ticking of a clock laid over an ambient soundscape. This leads directly into “Still There” with its expressive lead vocals, textural keyboards and Floydy guitar work. There is a dark vibe running through these tracks giving the music an edge, even though I wouldn’t consider this heavy music. Catchy keyboards and more riveting guitar work can be heard on “Loneliness” and features another excellent vocal arrangement with both male and female vox. The crisp keyboards and guitar throughout the heavy and lightly coloured “The Seed Has Been Sown” is highlight material as is the soaring lead guitar in “What Will Be Next?” making for a dramatic close to the album.
Latent Avidity comes highly recommended, especially for fans of darker edged progressive rock.

A Progressive Promotion Records release.

Band members:
Jakub Roszak (vocals)
Beata Lagoda (keys, vocals)
Maciej Klimek (guitars)
Lukasz Marszalek (bass)
Robert Kusik (drums)

Stolen Thoughts (2008)
Lost In Perception (2012)
Re:Search (2017)
Latent Avidity (2019)

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