Self-released – [Release Date: 10.07.14]
One of the joys of writing reviews is that every so often a little gem appears amid the general ordinariness of new material that arrives (mostly as a result of the joys of self-release and its inherent lack of external quality control).
And this could easily have been lost in the slew as it has a home-made, cottage-industry feel about the CD and packaging and is obviously self-released – but there the similarity ends.
For this is top-notch melodic progressive rock of the highest order and deserves a much wider hearing than the paltry number of listens it is likely to accrue.
Esosome is essentially the solo project of guitarist/musician/songwriter Jeff Ramponi who hails from the San Francisco area – strange actually as the sound of this album is quintessentially English with the occasional injection of ‘Night Is The New Day’-era Katatonia.
All the usual prog touchstones are here – the quirky time-signatures, the intelligent (if rather brief) libretto and the dextrous use of the various instruments – but what stands out is the sheer quality of the music and arrangements together with the knowledge that, with the exception of a bit of Hammond on one track, the whole shebang has been played, sung, arranged and produced by Ramponi himself.
Throughout the six tracks pastoral acoustic passages jostle for the listener’s attention with searing electric guitar and soaring keyboards, all held together with Ramponi’s understated, yet insistent voice – creating a cohesive progressive rock masterpiece that bears comparison with most albums from the genre – yes, it’s that good.
If there is a downside it’s that the album clocks in at less than thirty minutes – but there’s good stuff in little parcels and if you just need a quick helping of quality prog to fill a gap – look no further.
Available from https://esosome.bandcamp.com
Review by Alan Jones
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