Holland is becoming as rich in fine progressive rock bands as Sweden. Two of my Top 10 albums of the year are from Dutch bands – The Gathering's The West Pole and Intentions's Place in Time - and now along comes Silhouette with their second album, Moods. However, as good as Moods is, it's not in the same league as the two albums I've just mentioned.
I'm being unfair, I hear you say, because Moods is firmly and squarely a symphonic-prog album (or I should say, "neo-prog"; it's straight down the Genesis line), whereas The West Pole and Place in Time are closer to art-rock; so they have more room for manoeuvre, more room for "fun". Well, that may be so, but again if you compare Moods to my favourite neo-prog albums of the year - IQ's Frequency and Sunchild's The Invisible Line - then it falls short. Moods has neither Frequency's power and rhythmic qualities nor The Invisible Line's sublime melody and arrangements' inventiveness. No, it is a good neo-prog album, that lovers of the genre will enjoy, but it's not an album that will stay long in the memory, in particular for more general progressive rock fans.
The opening phase of the album is its most pleasing: "Concert Hangover" and "Don't Threaten My Peace of Mind" are contenders for the best tracks on the album. "Concert Hangover" is melodious, makes good use of instrumentation, the vocal is pleasing and we're off to a fine start; "Don't Threaten My Peace of Mind" has a higher pace that contrasts nicely with the opening number, its rockier feel pleasing the ear. "Searching for Her" starts the downward slide, the use of two lead vocalists not quite succeeding as the juxtaposition of the voices is not ideal: like so many of the songs that follow, this is a "nearly" song – it's nearly a good song but the band fails to quite nail it. The story of the album then becomes one of "neo-prog by numbers", there being not enough structural, rhythmic or melodic invention to make the music really shine. That situation is exacerbated by the fact that this is a very long album, over 75 minutes long! Guys, The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway this is not!
A couple of compositions towards the end rise above the album's average, leading one to suppose that had the album been pruned, coming in at around 50 minutes, then it may have made for a more enjoyable experience. The title track "Moods" is an instrumental and benefits from some pretty piano, neatly offsetting the synth work; and "Another Bed Time Story" features the most enjoyable guitar work on the album, which is enough to lift the track above the humdrum.
Elsewhere, whilst there is nothing unpalatable or nasty, it's always pleasant but without a clinching rhythm, a honey-dewed melody line or an arrangement to inspire.
In conclusion, then, this is one that neo-prog-heads may well enjoy, but not many other fans, and I suspect even they will not give it too many spins.
1) Concert Hangover (8:49)
2) Don't Threaten My Peace of Mind (6:06)
3) Searching for Her (6:41)
4)Second Time Down (4:23)
5) Don't Mess With Me (5:45)
6) Feeling God (5:16)
7) Unreal Meeting (10:48)
8) Cinema Backseat (5:17)
9) Far Away (6:04)
10) Moods (5:43)
11) Another Bed Time Story (7:33)
12) The Answers (5:57)