This is the fifth album from Forever Twelve, who released their debut album all the way back in 2002. Only Steve Barberic (keyboards) and Tom Graham (guitar, keyboards, bass, vocals) are still there from those days, and for the first three albums they had a female singer. This changed in 2017 when the band returned with their first album since 2010 and a new singer in John Baker, and just six years on they also have a new drummer in Robert Craft. Interestingly, both John and Robert used to be in Mars Hollow, whose 2012 ‘Live’ album is nothing short of a masterpiece. Looking at the Mars Hollow site it appears that John joined Forever Twelve some 10 years ago which explains why he sounds so much at home, as this album is a solid delight from beginning to end.
The band may have been more symphonic in the early days, but on this album, they are providing us with solid American-style crossover that also has some nice melodic rock tendencies. The keyboards often provide a powerful backdrop, while guitar and bass are playing intricate runs, the drums are incredibly busy for the style of music, and then at the front are John’s vocals which are soft and gentle, often with long held notes, which shows incredible confidence and skill. It is a multi-layered and very textured album in that the more one plays it the more there is to uncover, be it wonderful harmonies, the dramatic shifts in time signature and key, the sections which are totally different to each other etc. It is very much a modern prog album with way more influences from the Eighties than the Seventies, and at times quite a neo-prog approach to guitars, and there is always enough bite to make it intriguing, as one never knows where the music is going to lead next. The crows at the end of the album are a lovely link back to the album cover, which was designed by John’s wife Lisa LaRue-Baker, who is of course a very well-known performer in her own right.
I have not heard their last album, but I need to correct that oversight as this is a solid delight from beginning to end, with hidden depths and multiple delights to be uncovered. If you enjoy modern commercial progressive rock music which is easy to listen to but never easy listening, then this is definitely worth seeking out.
kev rowland | 4/5 | 2023-10-14