Eagle-eye readers will have noticed that Intentions's Place in Time was number 5 in my "best of 2009" list, so it was a pleasure to receive a second copy from SoT for formal review. It always gives me a buzz to share a real musical gem with others and Intentions's debut album is definitely a prize jewel!
Having said that, this is not music that will appeal to those fans who only enjoy metal, fast paced and loud. No, this "art-rock" album is one for lovers of subtler things, being generally slow to medium tempo and controlled in its sound.
Intentions are a Dutch band formed in 2003 by Erik Kuipers (bass), Sanne te Meerman (guitar) and André de Vries (keyboards) but it was only in 2006 that they found the quality singer that they sought in Roelof Beeftink. Roelef brought drummer Petrick Glasbergen along from his previous band and the quintet that recorded Place in Time, the band's first album, was complete. Long in gestation it may have been, but it is also long on quality, so well worth the effort!
Place in Time is an album of exquisite, melodic art-rock rooted in traditions that go all the way back to The Beatles and that were followed up by a number of seventies bands that had their art-rock periods, amongst which one could mention Barclay James Harvest, Camel and Caravan. It's a tradition that continues to this day and Place in Time is an exceptional demonstration of the form.
As in all good art-rock, there are moments where the guitar is meaty and to the fore: te Meerman's style is to impress through tonality and feel rather than through blasts of loud riffing. So it is that on songs such as "Eneme" and "Crash" the guitar brings wonderful menace to the proceedings! "Crash" is a stunning song, with a second phase that successfully incorporates rap/hip-hop: it's not a combination that one usually finds in prog-rock music but the band manage to pull this off wonderfully well!
Elsewhere, the highlights come from sublime melodic writing, starting with the wistful acoustic intro "A Promise", which the band then hold true to its title by following up with some magic moments on songs such as "Back" and "Thaw Me".
With no weaknesses, some superb musical writing and a strong performance from the whole band, this is an album whose music will be replaying in your mind for weeks after you've listened to it.
If you enjoy rock with plenty of melody and don't mind a lack of metal, then this is for you!
1) A Promise (1:24)
2) Aimless (4:23)
3) State of Mind (5:41)
4) Back (3:08)
5) Eneme (5:50)
6) Drowned (6:16)
7) On the Run (6:11)
8) Thaw Me (5:06)
9) Cu In the Real World (3:39)
10) Crash (7:15)
11) Joy and Misery (4:19)
12) Wasted (6:14)