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.
1. Dark Side Of The Sun
2. The Spectacle
4. Ghost Town
5. Armchair Voyager
6. A Reptile Dysfunction
8. Calmsy Downsy
9. On Second Thought
12.Lost In Transit
14.Move The Earth