Gentle Art Of Music [Release date 13.04.18]
Dutch female fronted prog/metalers Lesoir’s last album Luctor Et Emergo (2015) left no enduring mark on my consciousness (or music library), and it was only spotting the cover whilst researching that rang a deeply buried bell.
Album #IV sees the band (Maartje Meessen – vocals, flute, piano, Eleen Bartholomeus – vocals, keys, guitar, percussion, Ingo Dassen – guitars, Ingo Jetten – bass, bass, and Bob Van Heumen – drums) once again re-united with producer John Cornfield (Muse, Oasis, Supergrass, Stone Roses, Katatonia and New Model Army), this time with Pineapple Thief frontman Bruce Soord co-producing.
This time around more focus has been put on ‘a progressive artistic direction that prioritises melody over blunt rage’. In other words, the angular, metal, facets of previous releases have been toned down. That’s not to say Lesoir have gone all soft and cuddly.
The quieter, more melodic, aspects still continue to have a distinct Magenta feel to them – in particular in Meessen’s excellent vocals. Some passages have almost theatrical tones, and when they do strike out they still pull no punches, all the more forceful for their new-found restraint.
There’s some glorious melodies, plenty of progressive meanderings and dreamy otherworldly soundscapes, capped off with some sympathetic string arrangements. And so much going on that this is a record that demands, and will unquestionably reward, repeated plays.
Beautifully produced, the band’s playing shows a level of maturity missing from previous outings and Latitude is a huge leap forward in Lesoir establishing a defining sound (Magenta on steroids?) that should find favour with a broader audience. And apt that it’s released on a label called the Gentle Art Of Music. ****
Review by Pete Whalley
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