Sometimes a look back will help you to see what is ahead. That is the way Mindgames brings you into their world as they take the lessons learned from their mentors like Yes, Genesis, Marillion and Pink Floyd and turn it into a progressive symphonic treat. With a wide array of musical styles that all focus on the melodic nature of the groups I have mentioned, Mindgames will have you remembering all the great music from the past and thankful that you are in the here and now to enjoy this one too!
When "The Source" started me on this nostalgic trip, I thought that Anderson, Wakeman, Howe and the rest of the boys from Yes were trying to pull a fast one by bringing us some new music while trying to stay incognito. This song sounds like it could have been a lost gem from the Going For The One sessions. Lead singer Bart Schram has a voice so close to Jon Anderson that I would really have a hard time telling the two apart. Even in the phrasing they sound so similar that it is eerie.
This continues into the next song "Glory of Night" which sounds like Yes emulating vintage Genesis. Here is where they really start to catch fire with some terrific guitar work by Rudy Vander Veken and keyboardist Tom Truyers bringing a smile to your face with the use of an assortment of instruments ranging from stirring piano to the power that only a true Hammond can deliver. Sit back and enjoy it prog fans, it doesn't get much better than this. Well, at least until you hit the rest of this disc.
They next give you a terrific little acoustic cool down called "In My Humble Opinion…" before delivering over ten minutes of pure progressive joy with the multi-faceted work "Travels". This aptly named song soars through delightful melodic passages that take you from the simply beautiful to the amazing Floydish sounding middle and then takes you even higher with a bombastic flourish that once again has that resonant Hammond organ as the foundation. I can listen to this kind of music over and over again as each time it just sinks into the psyche a little deeper.
Making me think of Gabriel led Genesis, add a dash of Supertramp and you have the next song "Outside The Gloom". It cannot be called a highlight as there is no low points on this disc but for some reason this one is the song that gets stuck in the brain. These boys from Belgium seem to have a little English wit in their background as this plays like a mid 70's progressive gem that emitted from the British Isles with a bit of tongue-in-cheek whimsy. This kind of stuff is what drew me to the music style back then and with their modern twist Mindgames makes it easy to fall under their spell with such a dazzling display of all things good about progressive rock.
The band lays on the bombastic attitude for the next number "Destination Sky" before winding up the disc with the almost fifteen minute opus "The Pendulum". The first time you listen to the disc it builds and builds until you reach the top of the mountain with this meticulously crafted work that cannot help but bring a huge smile to the face every time you play it. Surreal and spacy, Mindgames takes you to that astral plane where all the great bands from the past resided. It is a rich, lush piece that has so many textures to it that each play is a new discovery of the vast musical abilities of this band. When "The Pendulum" swings from dreamy to bombastic, this narrated tale is filled with the philosophical musings that are such a big part of the genre. There is so few who can produce this kind of work these days it is truly a breath of fresh air to come across an album of this nature and it is one that I have managed to slip into the player at least for a song or two each day.
Another thing that struck me about this album is how upbeat it is. It does the head and heart good to smile for this long as this is a band that definitely sees the glass as half full. The optimistic outlook and attitude of this disc sticks with you long after the music has stopped playing and it is too bad there is not more of this kind of work as we all might be just a little better off if there was!
1. The Source
2. Glory of Night
3. In My Humble Opinion…
5. Outside the Gloom
6. Destination Sky
7. The Pendulum