honest that I've had trouble rating this debut album from Lifesigns. This
three-man outfit includes the likes of Nick Beggs on bass, John Young on keys,
and Frosty Beedle on drums. These three are fairly well known, especially Beggs
with his dynamic approach to bass and Chapman stick.
then, is how to review an album created by three music veterans.
This album is
deceptively simple. Its five lengthy pieces come across as light and fluffy most
of the time, but inside their hearts beat with fiery bass lines, sweeping and
atmospheric keys, and delicate drumming. This album thrives on heady technical
performances, but somehow remains simple and accessible, too. Beggs is his usual
self with inventive and incredibly interesting bass offerings. Indeed, this is
definitely one of the best bass performances of 2013. Young offers keys with
elegance and skill, playing everything from outstanding solos to subtle touches.
Lastly, Beedle plays his drums with expert precision and appropriation to the
music type. Indeed, this album is full of intricacies and subtleties. On top of
these musicians, a great group of guests is involved, such as Steve Hackett with
his ethereal guitar.
the strengths of this album may also be what keeps it from being a complete
masterpiece. Subtlety. This album might be too subtle at times, to the point
where passages seem to have nothing happening at all. I found again and again
that a track would start out really well, have an outstanding middle, and then
finish strongly. However, the minutes that provide transition between those
parts are pretty uneventful and downright dull at times. Another strength is its
guest lineup. However, the lack of an actual guitar players detracts from the
overall feeling of the album slightly. The music often lacks a fullness or
satisfaction. Don't get me wrong, though. This is an excellent album in almost
every way possible, from interesting lyrics and great harmonizing vocals to
skillful instrumental sections and extremely catchy rhythms.
themselves are somewhat varied. From the organic "Lighthouse" to the desperate
"Telephone" and the elegant "Fridge Full of Stars" (my favorite), this albums
starts off very well. It doesn't let up, though, as the sweeping "At the End of
the World" and the funky "Carousel" finish the album on a really high note.
Throughout these tracks, we are treated to incredible variety in keys and really
infectious melodies. I am especially impressed with the vocal melodies at the
end of "At the End of the World". Once you hear it, you will be singing it for
So, how does
one rate this type of album? It has its flaws, but they are small and don't
really ruin the experience. On the other hand, the music is masterfully
composed, professionally performed, and simply beautiful in ambiance. On one
hand, some passages drag on without really going anywhere. However, then an
infectious keyboard melody or bass line will rear its head, and the song will
have changed in an instant to something glorious and divine. Overall, the album
is worth everyone's time. It has the right amount of tastiness to keep the
listener interested, and the album will grow and grow like a weed within your
mind. This album is truly an excellent addition to the prog scene.