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Svilpa, Robert: The Sound of Thoughts

What a pleasant surprise The Sound of Thoughts is! For reasons I can't quite explain, I expected the music of Robert Svilpa to be in the guitar shredder vein of Steve Vai! Instead, what we have is one of the best American progressive rock albums I've heard in quite some time. Influences range from Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, Rush and Kansas to 80s neoprogressive stalwarts such as IQ, Pallas and Arena.

The Sound of Thoughts is thematically very depressing and focuses on death, addiction, fear and society gone awry. Even the two songs that celebrate love and family ("Never Leave Behind" and "Father to Son") end on an uncertain somber note; and yet all these songs are a joy to listen to because they are so well written. Whether presenting pop/rock songs like "Legend in His Own Mind" or tackling twenty-minute pieces like "Lady in a Cage", Svilpa proves himself to be a fine songwriter. He's certainly a topnotch lyricist when compared to most other bands in this genre; it's refreshing to hear good songs completely devoid of mannered prog rock lyrical clichés.

Having said that, many of the album's strongest cuts are the instrumentals, such as "Pentelho Vermelho", "Tahoma" and the spacey Floydish title track. The undeniable highlight must be "Lady in a Cage", which features great dynamics, symphonic keyboards (some nice Mellotron samples here) and crunching guitars. It's quite a theatrical epic that really brings home the agony of addiction.

All told, The Sound of Thoughts is a striking album. At 72 minutes, it's a tad too long, although I'd be hard pressed to indicate anything that approaches album filler. I really don't know much about this Robert Svilpa guy, but here's hoping he finds a wider audience. You don't very often hear of a prog rocker wearing his heart on his sleeve and Svilpa manages to do so without appearing the least bit self absorbed. Very warmly recommended.

Track Listing

  1. Heartbeat's Failing
  2. The Weaver's Loom (Pt. 1)
  3. Pentelho Vermelho
  4. Legend in His Own Mind
  5. Lady in a Cage
  6. Never Leave Behind
  7. Tahoma
  8. The Weaver's Loom (Pt. 2)
  9. This Mortal Coil
  10. Peace, My Brother
  11. The Sound of Thoughts
  12. Father to Son

Added: August 28th 2005
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Robert Svilpa Web Page
Hits: 2971
Language: english

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