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Canvas: Digital Pigeon

First a caveat

I've been loosely acquainted with this recording since its very early days.  But the following comments are as objective as I can make them:
One astute reviewer said that Canvas's music recalls the Alan Parsons Project.  That's a good comparison - but only as a starting point. The band iteself describes the music as Progressive pop with proggy influences.  That's unfair, because although there are some pop-oriented moments, they certainly don't define the music. Approachable progressive rock with jazzy influences, may be a better description.

In these days of gloomy music, an occasional ray of sunshine is very welcome - and there's a pleasing upbeat feel to most of the songs. You might find yourself a bit under-whelmed when first listening to it - but it definitely grows on you with subsequent listens, and the jazzy instrumentals in particular ended up being the most enjoyable sections.  Listen to "Spiders" for an idea of the jazzed-up brass-laden sounds that will keep most listeners coming back for more.

The rather consistent, laid back vocals and the verse / chorus / verse structure in several of the songs lend it a sort of singer/songwriter vibe. The vocals in some of the songs seem a bit tentative and the melodies are a bit restricted in range, putting it at the 'easy-listening' end of the prog scale. That isn't true of all songs, though. The vocals on "The Spectacle" are delivered in a stronger tone, and "Catwalk" is stronger still.  All of which speaks to the fact that there are no fewer than 5 singers on this record, contributing good song-to-song variety.

There's a rollicking, somewhat insistent bass line that seems to define almost every song on this record - and there are occasional but sudden flares of brassy, jazzy sections that contrast heavily with the softer sounds on the rest of the album - just to keep you on your toes. The lyrics are better than typically encountered in prog. Some are a little  more eclectic, though - and "Calmsy Downsy" might raise an eyebrow or two with lines like Raining cats and dogs and fish and birds / No time to eat or sleep or think or mow the lawn

Opening song "Dark Side Of The Sun" has a strong intro, and after that it yields to laid back and folksy vocals with rather limited range, which some might feel come across as a bit aimless and repetitive. The occasional falsetto multi-part backing vocal harmonies give it an old-fashioned feel. It's a nice, easy-rockin' listen, the chorus is simple and very catchy - and it's that hook-laden aspect that will keep most listeners returning to Digital Pigeon.

"The Spectacle" seems to be a song in 2 parts. The intro is nice, with an interesting palm-muted guitar intro, good vocal range and an upbeat overall tone - and a rewarding listen. Listen for the little flute trills early in the song. This track has more all-instrumental sections than most vocal tracks, and the light piano motifs that float over the top from time to time in the early part of the song are a particularly pleasing touch - and adds variety and texture. The lyrics fit in well with the melody giving it a sophisticated sound. Nice guitar solos too no pyromania, but a nice sound, and they fit into the piece nicely. There repetitions of the same melody / lyric line that almost tread into pop territory.

"Lost In Transit" features good, strong guitar lines in the early sections in fact you might find the instrumentals to be stronger than the vocals and the melody even though a few segments may be a bit repetitive. It develops a sort of head-nodding rhythm, and a strummed acoustic guitar consistently underlines the whole piece.  Add that to the laid back, soft vocal harmonies and it's all very old-school, yet it's a strong piece. The nice bluesy guitar work near end suits the tone of the song, and the lyrics. "Ghost Town" has another nice intro, and develops into a somewhat simple and folksy piece something like an old-styled cowboy song.  Very non-prog - but a fun listen.

Digital Pigeon comprises 14 songs - 3 are all-instrumental, and there's a Saga cover, and there's a Weather Report cover.  And at nearly 77 minutes it's a long album and you'll certainly get your money's worth.



Track Listing:
1. Dark Side Of The Sun
2. The Spectacle
3. Spiders
4. Ghost Town
5. Armchair Voyager
6. A Reptile Dysfunction
7. You
8. Calmsy Downsy
9. On Second Thought
11.Funk Shui
12.Lost In Transit
13.Teen Town
14.Move The Earth

Added: April 24th 2007
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: The Band's Website
Hits: 4105
Language: english

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