Frequency Drift - 'Letters To Maro'

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Frequency Drift - 'Letters To Maro'

A very nice album indeed.

I've always found Progressive Rock to be the most difficult music genre to review, as more than any other type of music it is full of sub-genres. A glance around the internet at various Prog Rock sites will tell you that, and fitting bands into a certain sub-genre is one that takes some thought. I've only mentioned this as when it comes to reviewing this particular album I found that the general consensus is that FD come under the "Crossover Prog" umbrella; so, are they Prog or not? Well, yes, I would say so. This album isn't full of jagged riffing and strange time signatures, but does fit with the general aesthetic that is Progressive Rock.

So, with that out of the way, let's get to the music. 'Letters To Maro' is, I believe, the band's eighth album, and apart from the nucleus of Nerissa Schwarz and Andreas Hack there is a seemingly revolving door for everyone else. This album features vocalist Irini Alexa, who replaces Melenie Mau, and like her predecessor she very much comes across like legendary Renaissance vocalist Annie Haslam.

Most songs on show here are well developed, slightly ambient pieces, with Alexa's vocals very much to the forefront. The opening piece 'Dear Maro 'is a quite delicate number; it's weaving rather than meandering, as well as being sonically uplifting. What follows tends to be well thought out melodic Prog, and with the guitars taking very much a back seat it's left to the electric harp and keyboards to carry the songs; something they do very well actually. 'Electricity' has some Dance-type elements included, which only enhances the band's musical palette.

Tracks such as 'Neon', 'Nine' and the sprawling 'Who's Master?' really do highlight what the band are all about though; clever, intricate arrangements with at times a quite claustrophobic feel to things, but at other times it all feels very expansive and there is some adept song writing going on too. I do admit that this album took a fair few spins to really take hold, but as with the majority of Prog Rock repeated listening is the key to bring everything out, and this album is no different.

This is Prog of the dreamy, melodic and thoughtful kind, and is a very nice album indeed, and certainly one that gets better the more you listen.

Malcolm Smith

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