This is not the latest release from one of my favourite Russian bands, Roz Vitalis, but is actually their debut from all the way back in 2002. I think it was their fifth album where I first became aware of them, and although I have gone back to one of the earlier ones since then, this is the first time I have come across this one. Unlike the later albums where it is a proper band, this has much more of a solo feeling about it, and I was somewhat surprised to see that Ivan Rozmainsky (keyboards, programming, soprano recorder) actually brought in two other keyboard players in Nadezhda Regentova and Vladimir Polyakov while there are also some vocals here and there.

Here we have a musician who has been influenced not only by the keyboard players from the past, but from classical as well. He has then brought that together in this album where keyboards (including a nice harpsichord sound) are by far the dominant sound. Being more than 20 years old, one of the major issues is the lack of a real drummer and the sounds being deployed to fill that hole, while some of the keyboards themselves have sounds being deployed which lack real depth. In many ways it sounds like it is, an album where the artist is starting to find his way, and I know that if I had not seen the cover I would not have said it was Ivan, as since this release he has grown hugely as a composer and musician. This is an album I have enjoyed, but it does feel pretty much on one level and there is little to demonstrate what he would be delivering in the future. Mind you, the same is true for many bands, and if I compare Big Big Train’s debut to their more recent works then again one would not imagine it was the same outfit. Consequently, this is one I have enjoyed playing and hearing, but not one to which I will be often returning.
6/10 Kev Rowland