The combination of great music and superior storytelling is not something that happens very often in the world of rock music. When it does, there is only one word to describe it; MASTERPIECE!
The Gift of Tears from Ulysses is one that falls into this category. From start to finish, the album takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride with its dynamic sound and deeply touching stories. Each piece on this disc is meant to strike a nerve in the listener and does it ever! Hitting on some of life's most heart felt and darker moments, Ulysses will make you look deep inside of yourself with its searing portraits of the pitfalls and tragedies that can be thrown at you.
I would not classify this as a happy album; it is more of a catharsis for the soul. Upon listening to this disc, what I took away from it, other than some fantastic music, is the thought that you should never give up. This, along with the wisdom that something can be gained from every misfortune is the message of this album.
The thing that sets The Gift of Tears apart from other albums of this nature is the way Ulysses can use their musical abilities to compliment the stories that they tell. When you hear about the confusion of amnesia in the song "Lost", the music is there to complete the picture. With Ulysses, the music has as much to say as the lyrics themselves. Rich, lush and totally enthralling, this is a breathtaking example of the power of music to unleash the sub-conscious mind.
The best example of this is the last song, the mesmerizing "Anat". This is the story that inspired the album. It is a true story of a one year old girl who died from a brain tumor. The song takes you from her birth through her whole life and untimely death. Without a doubt this is a heart wrenching story and the band gives you the feeling of living it with the parents. You share the joy and their grief and ultimately the knowledge of how to cope.
It has been a long time since I have been so deeply moved by an album. This one is one of those rare treats that only come along every so often. It is one where you can be swept away by the music or just as likely get lost in the tales it tells. Ulysses has given you a real gift with this one, The Gift of Tears.
1. Family Portrait
2. Guardian Angel
4. How Much More
5. Silence of the Night
6. The Gift of Tears