I'm in love! Yep, I admit it, I've fallen for the gorgeous Elena Kanevskaya (vocal, keyboards, recorder). It's not just her sultry good looks either, but also her captivating vocal performance on The Door to a Parallel World, Eternal Wanderers's first album, that has taken me over the edge. I'd better be on the look-out though, because her sister, Tatyana (guitar and bass guitar), may well poke a married man in the eye (or even kick him painfully in a tender place) should he dare to attempt to woo her sibling. Jeez, guess I'd better content myself with their music then....
And content with this music is what I am..Kicking off with the spacey keyboard intro of "how long i'd been facing the dark" you begin to lull yourself into slowish-tempo space-rock mode when, almost immediately, Elena's vocal brings you back down to earth - literally - the inflection and phrasing of her melodic lines recalling traditional folk songs and dances, and you soon find yourself deeply enmeshed in a musical world that is a fusion of mainly keyboard-driven space rock with light influences that come, I would guess (given the band's origin), from traditional Russian music. This meshing of folk-rooted music into a rock landscape is nothing new of course but it is the first time that I have heard a fusion with space-rock (the band themselves style it as a blend of psychedelic and art-rock, citing influences from many great 1960/70s progressive bands: Pink Floyd being the greatest to these ears at least). Despite being very different to the most traditional form of folk or celtic-rock, or even the more recent fusions that bands like Nightwish have attempted, Eternal Wanderers's fusion works extremely well and that's thanks not only to Elena's fine mezzo-delivery but also to the band's musical performance. Not flashy or virtuosic, just perfectly concentrated on the delivery of the musical effect.
Eternal Wanderers started as Elena and Tatyana's "Keyboard-guitar" project in 1997. They issued two demo-discs (in 2000 and 2001), a single in 2000 and contributed to a number of compilation albums featuring electroacoustic music. It was only in 2006 that the girls were joined by a bassist and a drummer and, in their words, "became at last a true rock band ". The Door to a Parallel World followed, released by Russian label MALS earlier this year. Some of the compositions on the album have their origins back in the girls' pre-band days, for instance the instrumental "visions of the lost world", featuring the most overt electronic experimentation, dates back to 2001's demo-disc. This version is longer though and still manages to weave in some folkish themes during one of its phases, so perhaps the band have tinkered with it during recording.
"visions...." is, for me, the least successful piece within the context of the album, meandering off in directions but failing to carry me along with the music throughout all of its duration. "the door to a parallel world", the other instrumental, is more successful, the guitar dominating over a synthesizer backdrop, a short folk-jig in its second half, before returning to the main theme. The remainder of the compositions are sung: all are enjoyable but a special mention has to go to "no way back", which is the most enjoyable take on the perennial "lost in space" theme that I've heard for many years (I've already previously reviewed two in my short time on this website alone! - Jim Ladd and Jupiter Society). Here, the folk-space rock approach suits the subject extremely well - it's an excellent song.
Anyway, as the band themselves say on their website: "it is possible to tell much, but it's better to listen to the music once than to read a hundred reviews". I'd better shut up then! Just to let you know though, that if you are interested you can follow the band's advice: click on the band's website link below, then find and follow the "music" banner - below the discography you will see that you can listen to or download music from the album in a fairly rough 112kbps mp3 format - enough to give you a taster and persuade you to buy the actual CD!
1) how long i'd been facing the dark (8:10)
2) the door to a parallel world (7:46)
3) ride without end (4:22)
4) too close to heaven (7:21)
5) no way back (5:49)
6) visions of the lost world (11:46)
7) revival (7:41)