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Satellite: Nostalgia

Album number four from the prolific Polish proggers finds them in inspired mood with a well crafted and accomplished collection of songs that maintains the high standard of their previous work. With just seven tracks there is ample opportunity for each to develop and allow the band time to extend themselves which they do in a laid back, understated way with no one contribution overpowering another. Thematically there is a loose concept that runs throughout, described as being "about coming to terms with the past, about the need for a change, starting anew, distancing oneself to one's own past". Additionally, the past also has a significant part to play in regard to the influences that are evident; immediate post- Peter Gabriel era Genesis and Neal Morse era Spock's Beard are both names that come to mind. Drummer, songwriter and band leader Wojtek Szadkowski says that "it was always my ambition to create a perfect connection between modern music and classic progressive rock" and with Nostalgia he has succeeded in doing that very thing without falling into the trap of sounding derivative and unoriginal.

The stirring "Every Desert Got Its Ocean" makes for an impressive opener, moving through various changes in both sound, style and mood. Vocalist Robert Amirian provides a versatile delivery, whether on the mellow pop sensibilities of "Repaint The Sky" or when the band move up a gear with the more forceful "Afraid Of What We Say". The latter is a real gem, extending to almost nine minutes it showcases some superb interplay between the musicians as a sparse lyric gives way to an almost Clapton-esque solo from guitarist Sarhan Kubeisi set against a backdrop of shimmering keyboards and hypnotic rhythms. Kubeisi is remarkable throughout with another delightfully soaring solo on the bittersweet, pleading ballad "Is it Over?" that offers a melancholic coda. There is a solid consistency to this album and perhaps the only point that can be argued is that Satellite have still to truly deliver their signature song; but this is merely an observation, not a criticism. This is a band that are undoubtedly in the premier league of modern prog and Nostalgia is a thoroughly excellent release that comes highly recommended.

Track Listing
1. Every desert got its ocean (9:13)
2. Repaint the sky (6:56)
3. Afraid of what we say (8:47)
4. I want you to know (7:20)
5. Over horizon (8:04)
6. Am I losing touch? (9:45)
7. Is it over? (7:30)

Added: April 15th 2009
Reviewer: Dean Pedley
Related Link: Artist MySpace
Hits: 2842
Language: english

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Satellite: Nostalgia
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-04-15 11:31:29
My Score:

I've got to hand it to the guys in Satellite: They've finally created an album that lives up to all the hype heaped upon this Polish band headed by ex-Collage drummer Wojtek Szadkowski. From the triumphant opener, "Every Desert Got Its Ocean," to Nostalgia's seventh and final song, the melancholy "Is It Over," the band rarely falters. Smack-dab in the middle of this album comes what arguably is the best song in Satellite's orbit: "I Want You to Know," a bouncy, feel-good tune driven by some majestic keys and Sarhan Kubeisi's otherworldly guitar. It's easy to understand why Nostalgia took a full year to record. Plenty of time and thought have gone into these tracks, and with its most mature and melodic effort yet, Satellite proves that it now deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as bands such as Arena, Marillion and Pendragon.

Satellite's 2003 debut, Between Sunrise and Sunset, left me underwhelmed and even nonplussed, and there are moments on Nostalgia (particularly in "Am I Losing Touch") that remind me of the band's previous, less-inspired work. But each successive Satellite release has slowly won me over, primarily because vocalist Robert Amirian gradually became less and less of a liability. While his sleepy voice often worked well with earlier dreamy material, he sounds completely re-energized on Nostalgia like a different singer, in fact.

As a result, Satellite has finally found the passion to propel it to prog's upper echelon. And the imaginative cover art will leave you, well, nostalgic for the days of the LP. Katarzyna Niwińska's image of man lost in reverie while floating on the water would look killer on a 12-by-12-inch album sleeve.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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