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Lars Boutrup

As the name suggests, Lars Boutrup is a keyboard wiz from Denmark who has been on the Scandinavian music scene for a number of years - both playing in various bands and composing music for films.

'The Symphonic Dream' is his second outing as a solo artist. His first, 'Music For Keyboards', was a completely solo effort, but this time he has employed a couple of bass players plus a rather fine drummer to energize proceedings.

So, does it work? Well, yes and no really. Sorry to get all Liberal Democrat on your arses but it really depends if keyboards are your thing.

This is an eight track, completely instrumental album and, as such, really needs to lead the listener by the ears in a number of different aural directions - a classical theme here, a swell of synths there, a touch of Keith Emerson here a bit of Jean Michel Jarre there, and to this end it just about succeeds - though it's touch and go at times.

There's no doubt whatsoever that the boy can play, and at times here he sounds absolutely inspirational, but there are also times when he labours the point with the over-repetition of themes and riffs and you find your attention wandering.

Best track on the album by a country mile is the title track which sounds very similar to the music used by the BBC in their coverage of the 6 Nations rugby this year - a very Jarresque theme and some tasty Hammond thrown in for good measure.

If the rest of the tracks had been at this standard, five stars beckoned. As it is, it's very good but just lacks that je ne sais quoi that makes a good album great. Fans of the aforementioned ELP and J-M Jarre will find plenty here - the rest of us will have to wait for album three which, if he could just vary things up a bit, could be a corker.


Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences "The Eclectic Mix" on the second Sunday of every month on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, and usually manages to include some prog.


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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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