Random Disturbance Records [Release Date: 01.01.14]
I had the pleasure of reviewing Edison’s Children’s first album ‘In The Last Waking Moments’ back in 2012 which, with the odd caveat, was fully worthy of the five stars garnered.
At the time I hoped that if they decided to get together for another album that this time they would take steps to avoid the startling faux-pas that almost ruined the last effort.
So, they have reconvened with ‘The Final Breath Before November’ – but have they put their bums in the custard again?
Well it depends, I suppose, on what you were expecting.
For those who don’t know, Edison’s Children is the side project of U.S. guitarist Eric Blackwood and Marillion / Transatlantic bass supremo Pete Trewavas, and, needless to say, progressive rock is their stock in trade.
Prog nuts will rejoice to learn that the album has but three tracks and clocks in at almost an hour and twenty minutes (although the one hour seven minutes of ‘Silhouette’ is actually broken up into thirteen individually titled bite-sized chunks) and demands to be listened to in its entirety in one sitting.
Whereas the band’s first effort was a great first-listen, this takes a few runs through before its treasures are fully revealed, as its few, slightly irritating flaws appear quite early on.
I would liken it to eating the most beautiful fish you’ve ever tasted – only to get a bone on your second mouthful, making you wary of the rest of the dish.
It has to be said at the outset there are moments of exquisite beauty and breathtaking musicality here but, equally, there are occasional ‘could do better’ moments too.
Most of these concern both the lyrics and the vocals.
Whether or not you buy into the dystopian nightmare of the subject matter, the lyrics are occasionally trite to the point of cliche – ‘Oh I’ll never forget your face, you know I’m always going to need you, to feel your warm embrace…’ and ‘Come take my hand and follow me to another land…’ (‘Silence Can Be Deafening’). Hmmm.
Also, Eric’s voice can sound a little too earnest at times – rather like Bono gasping his last at the end of each line before wiping his fevered brow on a handkerchief drenched in emotion…
But, hey, these are relatively small gripes.
Overall it’s a stunning piece of work peppered with ‘wow’ moments everywhere – the instrumental layering of opening track ‘Final Breath’, the delicate acoustic figures of ‘The Fading’, the insistent riff of ‘Welcome To Your Dreamland’, the lovely 12 string acoustic intro to ‘The Longing’ and the great fade-out solo on ‘The Seventh Sign’, the list goes on.
Add on the clever acoustic riff and recurring song structure of ‘The Morphlux’, ‘The Second Coming Of The Morphlux’ and ‘The Clock Strikes November’ and it’s obvious that the sheer brilliance of the music has triumphed over the minor bum/custard interface scenario.
As essential as their first album – and you can’t lavish more praise than that. ****
Review by Alan Jones
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