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Shakary: Alya/The Last Summer–2006 (Reissue)

In one double-whammy fell swoop, Swiss neo-prog outfit Shakary reissues two albums, repackaged with new contributions, a couple guest spots, and a great number of tracks excised from Alya's previous format. The dreadlocked Noel McCalla has stepped in for all lead vocal chores, and his chops are serviceable if a bit unremarkable (his is not a household name, but his resumé isn't exactly chopped nuts, having worked with the likes of Paul Carrack, Mike Rutherford, Trevor Rabin, and three albums in the '90s with Manfred Mann). Most of the songs on Alya have spiritual/apocalyptic overtones with references to "the 1st Trumpet," the "antichrist," "the Seals," etc., while "The Last Drink" contains the memorable, laughter-inducing line I'll make love to you / like two animals / which are going to die" (lyricist/conceptualist Sandor Kwiatkowski gets all the credit). Instrumentally speaking, the band itself's got the moves and the chops, though keyboardist Giovanni Galfetti manages somehow to balance his arsenal of sweet analog emulations (decent clav patch, too) with cheesy brass and "stock" string samples and a hopelessly FM-sounding organ. [Marillion's] Steve Rothery and "that Ayreon guy" Arjen Lucassen lay down guitar solos on "Sentence" but sound manipulation software may be required to locate anything that doesn't already sound distinctly "Shakarian." "Sunset" and "Open Skies" are vocal-free but the best instrumental could've been captured by shaving off the lyric segment of "Time Trap" and letting Galfetti and guitarist Lele Hoffman go to town, instead. A guest violinist serves up some slick Jobson/Lockwood-type bits. In similar fashion, The Last Summer pledges more overwrought lyricizing and mines too-familiar symphonic bedrock. Again, choice instrumental parts are easy on the ears — keyssolo on "Love Warchild Of '64," the last third of "Dreaming In L.A.," and all of "Two Days Left." Alya/The Last Summer will no doubt prove blissful for some, but it would be nice if more neo bands took their cues from, say, Twelfth Night and Geoff Mann instead of aping IQ/Marillion and Gabriel-Genesis for the umpteenth time.


Disc One – ALYA 2006 [51:48]

1. Sunset 3:08
2. Lost Angels 6:19
3. Time Trap 5:58
4. Alya 4:47
5. The First Inquisition 6:06
6. Sentence 6:10
7. The Last Drink 7:29
8. Babylon 6:17
9. Open Skies 5:44

Disc Two – THE LAST SUMMER 2006 [42:43]

1. Masks 7:03
2. Dreaming In L.A. 10:00
3. Love Warchild Of '64 6:24
4. Different Places 4:10
5. The Play Of My Life 4:49
6. Two Days Left 4:49
7. Sparkles In The Dark 5:48

Total Time – 94:31

Added: December 14th 2006
Reviewer: Elias Granillo
Related Link: The Official Shakary Home Page
Hits: 2912
Language: english

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