Make no mistake about it, Going Home by Canada's Sense is an obvious tribute to the great prog bands of the 70's like Yes, Gentle Giant, Genesis, Jethro Tull, Harmonium, and King Crimson. As long as you are OK with that and don't expect something remarkably groundbreaking from these musicians from Quebec, then you can certainly find much enjoyment here on Going Home. Filled with lush acoustic guitars, flute, Mellotron, biting electric guitar, bass, Chapman Stick, various other keyboards, and drums, this is pretty rich stuff, well steeped in the greats of the classic prog era, but thankfully the songs are extremely melodic and memorable. Frank B. provides the lead vocals here, and he has a very likeable voice, somewhat like a more mid-rangey Jon Anderson, with backing vocals provided by talented guitarist/keyboard player Stephan D., who adds in plenty of tasty licks throughout this CD. The songs here are all quite lengthy, all but one under the 9-minute mark, and allow for plenty of atmosphere as well as complex instrumentation. The opening piece "The Sweater" kicks off with some crunchy guitar/bass/drum interplay before the flute comes into the fray and some counterpoint with keyboards, giving the song an odd Gentle Giant meets Coheed and Cambria feel. It's probably the most modern sounding piece here, but a great way to kick off the album. Mathieu G.'s bass has a very muscular, almost Chris Squire-like feel here, and Stephan's organ & synth tones really ignite plenty of fire underneath the raging maelstrom. Haunting Mellotron & somber flute leads you into the heartwarming "Stone in the Sky", a great early Genesis sounding number, also featuring gentle acoustic guitar and synth solos, while the title track is a throbbing prog-rock number with a strong Yes and Starcastle feel, featuring melodic vocals, tons of stabbing bass lines, Mellotron, acoustic guitar, and a vast array of keys. Stephan throws in some meaty heavy rock riffs on this one, as well as a wild acoustic guitar solo that is right out of the Al DiMeola school of fleet fingered picking.
"Aftermath" is 70's styled complex prog, and a real treat for fans of the classic era of the genre. You can almost hear strains of "Turn of the Century" by Yes or Gentle Giant's "Just the Same" here, as the tune jumps back and forth between an upbeat, quirky rocker and a dark & haunting atmospheric piece. Fans of more folk influenced prog will love the album closer "Stranger Coming Home", with flute player Sylvain leading the charge over gorgeous acoustic guitars and Frank's charming vocals. Amidst all the mellow instrumentation, Stephan drops in a stunning, Allan Holdsworth inspired electric guitar solo midway through the piece, which then leads way for a dramatic closing sequence that recalls vintage Genesis, complete with church organ, rippling bass, and waves of vocal layers.
It's hard not to like an album like this. Despite its obvious references to bands of yesteryear, Going Home sounds like it was made with such love and care that it's almost impossible not to get sucked into the lavish sounds permeating from this release.
1. The Sweater 9.20
2. Stone In The Sky 5.33
3. Going Home 11.02
4. Aftermath 10.10
5. Stranger Coming Home 10.33