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Lalu: Paint The Sky

Lalu is a musical project founded by a French composer and producer Vivien Lalu. The new album Paint The Sky was released earlier this year.

Lalu isn’t a new musical vehicle - Vivien has released 2 previous albums under this moniker, 2005’s Oniric Metal & 2013’s Atomic Arc . However, in some respects this album feels like a new beginning. Whilst the previous two albums have had a progressive metal bias, on this album Vivien set out to write a progressive rock album, a style of music that is close to him, being the son of members of the ‘70s French progressive act Polène.

To capture his vision, Vivien Lalu has changed up his supporting cast and has enlisted the services of several high calibre musicians. Damien Wilson (Headspace) was selected to play a very significant part in this release, handling all aspects of the vocal duties (lyrics, arrangement, and performance). It must be said that Wilson is an exceptional choice for this style of music and provides a quality focal point throughout the album. He evokes shades of Jon Anderson at one moment and Ross Jennings the next, all whilst being his brilliant self.

The core ensemble is rounded out with Jelly Cardarelli (Drums) & Joop Wolters on both Guitars & Bass, both do a sterling job. The calibre of musicianship on this album is top shelf, so whilst the main contributors might not be household names (outside niche Prog circles at least) they deserve to be. A host of notable guest musicians adds the veritable ‘cherry on top’ to what was already a brilliant foundation - guests include Jens Johansson, Alessandro Del Vecchio, Steve Walsh, Tony Franklin, Jordan Rudess, Simone Mularoni & Simon Phillips. They all add great moments to the album when called upon. Every track is equally strong and has something different to offer the listener. Somehow they have captured a sound that is both fresh sounding yet reminiscent of the past; whether it is the Yes inspired opening to "Reset the Preset", the quirky Zappa/Vai moments in the title track "Paint the Sky", intricate Genesis-style 12 string guitar of "Sweet Asylum", the massive vocal hooks in "Witness to the World", or the Jazz-Fusion sections during "Standing at the Gates of Hell"…..I could wax lyrical for hours about this release, but the album speaks for itself.

The album is 11 tracks long plus a bonus version of the title track, and not a second of it sounds less inspired than the rest. The top end of the album is strong, but the middle and back end of the album offer something a little different and of equal strength - you need to listen right the way through to really ‘get’ the full picture of what the album has to offer. This isn’t one of those albums where you can listen to the first couple of tracks and ‘get’ it. Case in point - Track 8 "The Chosen Ones" was the first single released from the album.

The tragedy of Lalu’s relatively niche standing in the genre (currently), is that this album might well pass some people by. I have no doubt that If a band like Haken or Leprous had released this album the internet would be melting down saluting of the new kings of prog.

I can’t find fault in anything about this album -the arrangements, the performances and the production are all stellar. It’s high-quality prog rock that manages to blend 70s influences with more modern stylings with great effect.

An early club house leader for album of the year.

  1. Reset To Preset
  2. Won’t Rest Until The Heat Of The Earth Burns The Soles Of Our Feet Down To The Bone
  3. Emotionalised
  4. Paint The Sky (Feat. Steve Walsh)
  5. Witness To The World
  6. Lost In Conversation
  7. Standing At The Gates Of Hell
  8. The Chosen Ones
  9. Sweet Asylum
  10. We Are Strong
  11. All Of The Lights
  12. Paint The Sky (Feat. Simon Phillips)

Added: February 1st 2022
Reviewer: Chris Reid
Related Link: Band Instagram Page
Hits: 1515
Language: english

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