By Mark Elliot
Anton Roolaart’s new album Dreamer is a very symphonic sounding CD, a feast for lovers of the more mellow side of Prog.
Track 1 “Near or Far” has lots of complex chord changes but all the parts seem to fit and while this opening track doesn’t exactly grab you because of it’s overcomplexity on the whole I liked it.
Track 2 “On To the Afterglow” has a really interesting acoustic guitar opening section with some wonderful production interspersed with the vocals.Then follows a great keyboard solo into a beautiful jazzy sounding piano and with a lovely Spanish guitar section as well. This track is certainly well put together.
Track 3 “Dreamer” has a haunting keyboard intro playing into a strange vocal. Anton Roolaart’s voice is probably not to everyone’s taste but you could say that about virtually any vocalist. It fits the music and you can’t fault his range but my problem is, is that when he goes for it and belts it out the music doesn’t back him up sufficiently.
Track 4 “Scary Monsters” is again another well constructed track but maybe a bit overcomplicated and also I felt the album was in need of a lift at this point.
Track 5 “Color of Your World” has at last some power and anthemic energy. A lovely riff and a first rate vocal into a memorable chorus and a fantastic keyboard solo, this is what the album needed at this point. I must say the keyboard / synth sounds are first rate on the whole of this album.
Track 6 “Mid Summers Day” has a very quirky intro section with a Spanish / folk feel – very clever. The main song then starts and this is just fantastic, definitely the best constructed song so far. Voice ,music and production are absolutely perfect. Again very complex with lots of “bits” but they all flow effortlessly. Superb bass playing, too.
Track 7 “Manon” a superb keyboard riff and drumming lead into a great verse and chorus, then follows the best guitar solo on the CD. A strange telephone conversation over the mid section of this song wasn’t strange enough for me. If you are going to try to create illusion, then the words really matter and they should leave the listener wondering, which this didn’t to be honest.
Track 8 “The Spider”. This is great, almost circus-like or Cabaret circa 1930s Berlin. Very theatrical and an interesting end to an interesting album.
If you are after a classic powerful anthemic Prog album then this isn’t the CD for you. If however you are after an interesting quirky but a “you have to pay attention to it” chill CD, then this is one for your collection.
Anton Roolaart has produced a wonderfully constructed album with lots of amazing songs and sounds to keep you transfixed, if not a bit bemused at times. I think you would need to play this a few times to get the most out of it but, hey, those ones are usually the best in the long run.