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Laughing Stock: Zero, Acts 3 & 4

First off, a confession. I’d not heard the album Zero Acts 1&2 from these Norwegians before, so it was a quick dash off over to Spotify to get to know it which has enabled me to give a more authoritative opinion on this follow up record.

With that little admission out of the way it’s down to brass tasks to how the band has continued to develop the story. The two albums as a concept follow our intrepid hero (Zero) through his life, with the first album having dealt with his childhood, and now this new release looking at him as a young adult, and the trials and tribulations that adulthood brings with it.

`Wingless` with its thoughtful, breathless opening soon builds into an expansive piece with hints of Pink Floyd at the heart of the song, `Lifeboat` is a quite beautiful understated song with the keyboards driving the song forth.

`The Call` featuring Nad Sylvan, who really needs no introduction to followers of this site, as expected is a stately, powerful tune, which quickly moves on to the relatively short `Free` which arguably acts as a palette cleanser, before we are treated to `All Alone` with its overriding sense of melancholy, and a searing guitar solo to round the track off nicely.

The short `Words` like `Free` before it acts as an interlude before the main event, which in this case is `Running Free` and `Familiar Eyes`. The former being a languid, evocative song, and the latter featuring the vocals of Samantha Preis who gives the song an almost folksy ambience and in all honesty seems a little at odds with the rest of the album. `Mother`, once again offers up a broodiness that pervades the whole album really, and is affective at conveying the albums message. The closer `Words Part Two` is really nothing more than a bookend, and passes pretty much unnoticed.

Listening to the two albums back to back, it is most certainly an ambitious project, and for the most part works fairly well. I do have to say I personally have an issue with the vocals, which is why maybe outside performers were bought in. I found them rather one dimensional and on occasion lacking in emotion , but get past that particular hurdle and the listener is in for a most engaging listen, and is certainly a release that Prog fans who lap up concept albums should find many delights contained therein.

Track Listing
1. Wingless
2. Lifeboat
3. The Call
4. Free
5. All Alone
6. Words
7. Running Faster
8. Familiar Eyes
9. Mother
10. Words Part 2

Added: February 20th 2022
Reviewer: Malcolm Smith
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 698
Language: english

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