I hereby proclaim A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset to be the best symphonic progressive rock album I've heard in 2003. Seriously, this is a wonderful CD and the music contained is a reminder of what made me fall in love with the genre in the first place. To label Satellite as a "neo-prog" band completely misses the point. The best albums stand outside of their sub-genres and continually reveal new and intriguing insights with each listen. A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset is definitely one of those albums.
Though Satellite are a new band from Poland, the musicians should be familiar to those who still fondly remember the group Collage. In fact, Satellite contains 3 out of 5 ex members: vocalist Robert Amirian, guitarist Mirek Gil and most importantly, drummer (what a drummer!) and chief songwriter Wojtek Szadkowski. The overall sound is very reminiscent of Collage circa Moonshine, but Satellite are a septet and they achieve a very BIG sound. What could have been an overproduced mess turns out to be a very smooth and polished listen indeed.
The CD wastes no time getting into the epics. "The Evening Wind" and "On the Run" last for 12 and 15 minutes respectively and even after dozens of listens, it becomes apparent that these are the most complex pieces of music the ex Collage guys have ever produced! These songs really require several listens to sink in and your patience will be rewarded. Chock full of great melodies, musicianship and Robert Amirian's smooth, mellow voice, these pieces of music are really something to behold. I particularly love the way "On the Run" begins with a quiet introduction as Amirian croons softly before the band breaks in with a dramatic theme and an irresistibly slick 4 minute instrumental interlude. But we're only through the first two out of nine songs! "Midnight Snow" is a relatively short song that is reminiscent of the best parts of Collage's Safe. It's the most "commercial" song on the disc but it ends with a nice thick sustained guitar lead. "No Disgrace" is another relatively short song at five and a half minutes and it has such a rousing unforgettable melody and a great instrumental outro- similar to something Genesis might have done on Wind & Wuthering-that it shouldn't be overlooked. Other highlights include "Now", an exciting 10 minute extravaganza that will have you pumping your fist in the air during the chorus. The title track is 11 minutes of moody bliss, somewhat similar to Marillion's "This is the 21st Century", but much better. It is dark, somber and progressive without succumbing to the aforementioned band's Massive Attack-isms. To end this very lengthy (an almost insignificant criticism) 77 minute CD, it concludes with a lovely brief lullaby called "Children".
It's been a very, very long time since I've heard a symphonic rock or "neo-progressive" CD this good. I don't expect it to be equaled for quite some time. I think the more time spent on listening to this CD, the more its strengths really shine.
As an aside, I'm not one to listen to music while at the computer, but I'm glad I made an exception because as I type this review, I've discovered that there's a neat little 3 minute documentary showing the making of this CD. Add to that a beautiful booklet designed by Mark Wilkinson and A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset is easily in my top ten of the year. I hope Satellite plan on encircling above the prog rock community for many years to come because this band is extremely talented. My highest possible recommendation.
1. The Evening Wind (9:00)
2. On the Run (13:34)
3. Midnight Snow (4:00)
4. No Disgrace (5:40)
5. Not Afraid (6:00)
6. Now (7:00)
7. Bye Bye Bye (4:00)
8. One Empty Hand (7:00)
9. Fight (3:40)
10. A Street Between Sunrise and Sunset (9:30)
11. Children (4:30)