www.darwin.is [Release date 07.12.18]
‘Origin Of Species’ is an extravagant concept album spread over two discs, with DarWin not only the songwriter of the album and guitarist, he also stars in the album’s story. Ah yes, the story is a very timely one about the current state of earth –
“In 2028 an exhausted ecology, and global conflicts, have led to a huge upheaval of the world order, straining and diminishing human populations. The lives of everyday people and families have been turned upside down by the intense ecological pressures related to climate change. “Day Zero” has occurred, when nuclear attacks punctuated what had for many years been a civility between nations and people. As Earth rejects life, those of us who remain struggle to survive.”
A proper concept album, with a suitably impressive musical line-up that includes drummer Simon Phillips (he co-produced the album along with Darwin), Matt Bisonette (vocals, bass), Greg Howe (guitars) and Jeff Babko (keyboards), who has worked with the likes of Julio Inglesias, Toto and Steve Martin amongst others.
In addition to these, there are a number of well-respected jazz musicians guesting including Katisse Buckingham and Dennis Hamm. Strings are used throughout, creating a grand and symphonic sound.
The songs are excellent and can be enjoyed as one immersive piece by listening to the whole album in one go, or they stand up well on their own. There is the harmonious prog of ‘For Humanity’, sounding a lot like Spock’s Beard, the soaring melodies and rock of ‘Escape The Maze’ and ‘Gummy Bear’ (showing a streak of humour amongst the seriousness of the story), another song that features plenty of vocal harmonies.
The website is worth a visit for the complete experience as the concept is not just limited to the album.
DarWin remains a mystery as to where he came from, however we are lucky to have him and his fellow musicians for the songs and wake-up call. A timely concept piece, that is not only very enjoyable on a musical level, but also a timely reminder we need to sort our planet out before nature takes it course. ****
Review by Jason Ritchie
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