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ELOAH The Art Of Loving Provogue PRD 7390 2 (2012)


Eloah appears to be a divine name and this album deals with finding redemption through love. It isn't perhaps the most original concept but this is an album that makes the most of some strong melodies and a dense libretto comprising 16 segments. The musical journey opens with a strong conceptual choral hook 'abracadabra' , which outlines our potential, and works its way to the contemplative horn led finish of 'Light', as love immerses all. Its prog rock but not as we commonly know it, with shades of ambient rock with jazzy edges, though the climatic guitar solo on the opening track is familiar territory.

But if the lyrical and conceptual ideas are as laudable as they lofty, song writing vocalist Elmar C. Fuchs's whispery croaked lead vocals tests the patience, making little or no attempt to phrase aesthetically or coherently. And that's a shame as there's a lot going on musically on 'Awakening (a Gunslinger's Lullaby)', including an innovative use of horns and synths and a cool groove, while the acoustic ballad 'Apostles, Traitors and Messiahs' is also hampered by a throaty vocal affection.

And on it goes, with proggy noodles, elements of light and shade, familiar progressions and even some unexpected bluesy brushstrokes on the trombone led 'Human Kind', which suggests a spiritual void.

The portentously titled 'Last Day of Earth' actually has a delicate light feel, but with more annoying whispered vocals. Perhaps the weight of the concept sucked all the air out of the studio? The number does pick up momentum with a brief sax solo and crisp percussion and resolves itself in a jolly Caravan sort of way.

Annoyingly, those moments where you feel the lyrics really might hold the key to deeper understanding, are lost because sometimes the words are obscured in the booklet by photos or the print is simply too light, or maybe I'm just getting old?

The title track redresses the musical balance with some lovely harmony singing that evokes The Association on a beautifully constructed song that is as uplifting as its theme, though the band opts for a sudden tempo change that alters the feel of the piece. The scratchy guitar breaks and metal rhythm work feels like a curious afterthought.

On 'Chocolate Covered Bear' vocalist Adam D. Wexler comes to the realisation that; 'I guess if a chocolate coloured bear can be saved by Jesus maybe I can too', which raises a smile if not a quizzical glance as to a deeper meaning. 'A Holy Yes' employs some hallelujah wailing over a choral wall of sound reminiscent of Arcade Fire, while 'Pray To Them' uses lovely lyrical twists such as 'the deep greek ghost dance' over some intricate descending acoustic, percussion and horn interplay and achieves its goal of sounding like a solemn prayer that can lead to redemption through love

And on its goes, a conceptual continuum as part of a spiritual suite in search of redemption, on the back of the Metal guitar and dark lyrics of 'The Last Time' and the hammy vocals and gothic feel of 'Too Close', complete with Zappa style cries of agony or ecstasy (?) from Lena M, as the piece works towards a climactic finish.

'Light' provides a gentle sense of resolution. It's a number bathed in flute and horn parts and cleverly worked alternating vocals which ultimately coalesce in duet form. It's an impressive uplifting finish, but you can't help but feel that if the same attention had been paid to the vocals as to the music, this album would be far more accessible.


Review by Pete Feenstra

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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