Led by vocalist/guitarist Steve Nellessen and keyboardist/vocalist Mike Adkins, Synema have been in existence in one form or another since the early 1990's. Evolution for a Party of One is their second independently released CD and sees them joined on a couple of tracks by guest vocalists. This is a concept album, with all the songs flowing together in smooth segues. E4APO1 (as the band themselves call it) utilizes a diverse number of influences, mostly on the spacey spectrum of progressive music. At various times, one can detect the influence of Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream and even Mike Oldfield. Interestingly, Synema also mix things up a bit and can sound a bit like late 70's era Renaissance and even Marillion in an odd way.
The CD opens with "Conception De Renaissance" and fades in with an ambient introduction that gradually gives way to a symphonic "big bang" during the appropriately subtitled "Rebirth". The album proper begins with "Would You Like?" a short song that mixes electric and acoustic guitars with keyboards; the electro/acoustic approach combined with the male and female vocals is where I particularly detect the Renaissance sound. "Movement Evolution" is a symphonic suite that features more spacey keyboards, Steve Rothery like guitars and some quirky synth leads. I particularly like the Tangerine Dream-ish sequencer as the track segues into "Garden of Circles". This song features some neat dramatic keyboard landscapes over a snare drum march. "Traveler of Space and Time" features guest vocalist Mike Hargreaves who has a pleasant "mainstream" voice. It actually reminds me of the sort of anthemic power ballad that The Flower Kings would record. "Banished to Pangea" is the other track with guest vocals, featuring Christine Youngberg. Her vocals are the strongest throughout the CD and she is featured sparingly as a backing vocalist on other tracks. "As Light" closes the CD and features more Rothery inspired guitar leads and Tangerine Dream-like sequencers.
Synema are not merely the sum of their influences, in fact they really do have their own sound. The groups I mentioned are only for points of reference. E4APO1 is a very solid CD. My only real criticism is that perhaps the band tries to cover too much ground in only 45 minutes. The last few songs feel a bit rushed when compared to the rest of the CD, but overall Synema are definitely onto something; especially if they were to retain Christina Youngberg as a full time singer!