After reading the press information that came with the debut EP from Pennsylvania-based GRATTO, I was expecting to hear the next great progressive rock band. Instead, I heard bits and pieces of the masters that have influenced this quartet: Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Jethro Tull. With only three tracks – all of them longer than nine minutes – Anakin Tumnus (even the album's name is a throwback to progressive rock's classic heyday), GRATTO invoke old-school progressive rock with a cunning sense of urgency and respect.
Led by singer, keyboard player and group namesake Gratto (no last name needed, apparently), the band has created a concept album that manages to possess more instrumental passages than lyrical ones. That's a good thing, as Gratto's voice is weak compared to the musical power his band outputs. Gratto's keyboards and Chris Rodler's guitars are intricately intertwined, and the three tracks here flow together seamlessly. Drummer Brett Rodler and bassist Gary Madras also engage in some jazzy interplay. Dramatic passages, such as the George Winston-style piano solo in the middle of the 17-minute-long “Shift” and some inventive guitar work on “Call and Response,” combine with several time-signature changes and an uneven but compelling aural landscape to make Anakin Tumnus – at just 36 minutes – a timeless progressive rock album that manages to still sound fresh even after several spins.