Album review: ALTAVIA – Kreosote

ALTAVIA - Kreosote

White Knight Records [Release date: 07.10.16]

Following in the giant footsteps of all those great Rock Progressivo Italiano pathfinders such as PFM, Le Orme, Celeste and Finisterre come AltaVia with their own take on the genre.

I say their own take rather reluctantly as, taken in the round, this is the best album Yes never made – the early influence of one of the UK’s finest purveyors of the genre being all over ‘Kreosote’, the second foray into the studio following 2011’s interesting debut ‘Girt Dog’.

Whenever a progressive band is fronted by a female vocalist it is all too easy to make comparisons with the likes of Anne-Marie Helder, Christina Booth and Heather Findlay – but it’s not the case here as the vocal stylings of Betty Copeta are more akin to those of Jon Anderson, which, at the risk of of upsetting a few Yes fans, always have been at the “lady-end” of the register.

At the core of ‘Kreosote’ though, is classic melodic prog, beautifully played and using the quintessential template of time signature changes a-plenty, mood-swings by the dozen and the requisite quota of off-kilter lyrics.

The eight tracks get underway with the twelve minute epic ‘About To Fade’ where the Yes comparisons first surface among some lovely passages of guitar arpeggios and tinkling piano motifs.

These comparisons are nailed down in the second track ‘So Far So Good’ – which opens with an almost funky guitar riff that turns considerably darker as it progresses and where you would swear that Anderson was in the room.

Next up ‘Road To Nowhere’ has a riff that worms its way into your subconscious, followed by the paradox that is ‘Paradox’ – the paradox being that it is probably the weakest track on the album yet would easily be the best track on a number of albums I could name…mmmm.

The Yes template goes out of the window with ‘Love Is Worth A Try’ which sounds rather more like Mike And The Mechanics and is a little repetitive with somewhat trite lyrics and ‘You Are The Sailor’ which, to be honest, is one of those ‘what were they thinking of’ moments.

Sandwiched around ‘You Are The Sailor’ are two of the album’s finest moments – ‘The Storm’ with its folky beginning and lovely piano triplets seguéing into passages of anthemic guitar work, and the almost instrumental ‘Velathri’ which utilises what vocals there are almost as an ancillary instrument – both tracks where the band really pushed the envelope to reinforce their prog credentials and which hopefully give an indication of their future direction of travel.

So, are the Yes influences plagiarism? Of course not – is no-one allowed to sound like anyone else? And let’s face it, can you think of a great Yes album since 1972’s ‘Close To The Edge’? I thought not.

They’re not a tribute band, so let’s enjoy this for what it is – classic melodic prog rock which, yes(!), wears its influences on its sleeve but which is, in many ways, so much the better for it.  ****

Review by Alan Jones

Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, second Sunday of the month at 16:00. Expect some prog.

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 17 July.

Check out previous videos here:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 GMT, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 24 July 2022.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020 and 2021 Finalist) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 GMT as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 26 July 2022.

How to Listen Live?

Click the programming image at the top of the page (top right of page if using desktop)

Listen via Windows Media Player. Click or tap here and “open file”
Listen via other media player (eg. VLC) Click or tap here and “open file”

Get Ready to ROCK! Radio is also in iTunes under Internet Radio/Classic Rock
Listen in via the Tunein app and search for “Get Ready to ROCK!” and save as favourite.

More information and links at our radio website where you can listen again to shows via the presenter pages:

Power Plays w/c 8 August 2022 (Mon-Fri)
BORN LOST Take Time (Mouthpiece) (Revolver Records)
JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
SCARLET DORN Born To Suffer (SPV Recordings)
HOLDING ABSENCE Coffin (Sharptone Records)
TYRANNOSAURUS NEBULOUS Get Some (Echoed Past Records)
KROOKED TONGUE When The Beaches Bleed (indie)
SKYPILOT Knifed On The Beach (The Distortion Project)

Featured Albums w/c 8 August (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 LESSMAN VOSS Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. Force Majeure (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS A Very Unusual Head (indie)

Popular (last 30 days)

This entry was posted in ALBUM REVIEWS, ALBUM REVIEWS (Mobile), ALL POSTS and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply