RPWL - World Through My Eyes

Year of Release: 2005
Label: SPV
Catalog Number: SPV 085-40742 CD
Format: CD
Total Time: 70:51:00

Of the 2005 releases that I've been listening to thus far, RPWL's World Through My Eyes has by far been my favorite to listen to. Right now I'll tell you that this is on my top picks for 2005, at the very top at present, and those CDs that follow this one on the player have to move me more than this does to knock it off that top spot. And though it's been reviewed here already four times... here's my take.

What comes through mostly is a group that is enjoying making music together. There is a vitality that shines through every piece, even if the pieces themselves are mellow and understated. Sure, one could argue that RPWL have picked up the moody Floydian textures that Porcupine Tree have moved away from - never mind that RPWL started out as a Floyd cover band. Lang sounds ever more like David Gilmour than I think he has before. And just to close off that thought, I should say it's latter day Floyd. Even with all that, this is really great album... focused. Everything seems fresh, vibrant and alive. Pieces don't out wear their welcome, even after a dozen plays (and for me, a good bit more than that). And it sounds so fabulously produced, allowing one to hear every guitar note, every throb of the bass, every crash of the drums, every keyboard element and effect ... And every song is memorable, not just lyrically, but musically, such as the searing guitar phrases that open the cheery "Start The Fire" (which seems to channel both P-Tree and Floyd at the same time, taking it all into new directions).

And, things aren't all FloydTree here, either, as I'd be hard pressed to describe "World Through My Eyes" that way... but then this piece traverses so many roads, that it's hard to describe it as one thing - and yet it is very cohesive, flowing, and never loses it's way. You are riding on a journey with RPWL - and mainly L, since he wrote the lyrics - and get to, um, see the world through his eyes... It mixes in some middle eastern elements - what sounds like sitar, and very rhythmic, crisp percussion -- and some keyboard elements that are very hard to describe, into something that is... well very "tribal-rhythm" like... chantable percussion, let's say. It gives the piece a... worldly feel, if I may.

"Sleep" kicks things off and is anything sleepy, even if it is one of those that's mostly understated. Well, one of the mellowest tracks is "Everything Was Not Enough," which opens with a simple, but effective piano from Lang. It's a song that builds slowly, adding strummed acoustic guitar, sparse drums and percussion, and well placed guitar accents. It one were going to construct a ballad that cut to the truth of things without any hint of sappiness, this is it, and all without following a typical ballad format. And, if you listen carefully, you'll hear something quite Beatle-esque in the way this song ends... referencing Sgt. Pepper's and "A Day In The Life" though it's not direct quotes... Hear it, and you'll know what I mean.

Ray Wilson (Genesis, Stiltskin) guests on "Roses," another excellent track. I've read that Lang felt that he couldn't give this particular song what it needed vocally and so Wilson was recruited. Actually, I'd forgotten that it was Wilson singing until I was reminded of it recently. His voice, while different from Lang's, fits in so perfectly with the mood of the album, that the transition is seamless. And, here's a funny thing I noticed - in my review of God Has Failed I mention how I think Lang sounds like Wilson... and in my review of Trying To Kiss The Sun, I say I don't think Land sounds like Gilmour...

This is another one of my favorite tracks, and not just because of Wilson's presence. It's just a really great, emotive track - shimmery guitars and keys set things off... And... once you think deeply about it, realizing it's Wilson, you hear where Genesis were headed with Calling All Stations...

"3 Lights" is another acoustic guitar based piece, beautifully rendered. Fragile but not weak... and you'll find yourself reaching for your lighter (or a match) and swaying back and forth. Yes, it's that kind of floaty, mellow, gentle, lilting piece. Nice use of harmony vocals... And we get a sense of being out at sea, bobbing gently while we are treated to a... light show via keyboards and guitars playing some very visual leads... um, yes, a very tasty solo here from Kalle Wallner. Oh yes, I love this lead... he's not just playing notes, he's channeling some deep emotion - like Gilmour and Rothery, to name my two favorites of this kind of playing. See, as I said, vitality, life... it just radiates from this album.

Okay, this album is making me giddy. I have to tell you that I have been singing along (and air-guitaring, too) with this CD while writing this review (much to my family's chagrin, as I don't sing well) ... and while that doesn't mark a great progressive rock album, it means that it mixes some accessibility in with its progginess. Or it's the proggiest pop album to be released this year. Why yes, I'd absolutely love to hear songs from this album played on the radio... it's not a bad thing, given RPWL's style, to say they have "crossover" appeal.

"Sea-Nature" returns us to a rockier idiom, crying guitar and keyboard effects - spacey and groovy at the same time. Momentary lulls are rendered just to heighten the more explosive passages. See the colours of the album cover above? This how this song looks -neon pinks, yellows and green. Event the guitar solos are effects laden... this piece also brings to mind a bit of The Flower Kings, especially in the whole wide-open and epic feel to the arrangement (and Wallner's frenetic guitar leads). (And this is one of those songs that gets me giddy... and I'm not prone to giddiness...). It's a cover of a Steve Hillage tune from his Green album.

"Day On My Pillow" is bluesy, with classic use of organ ... takes you back to 70s, in a way, as I thought of Ambrosia, though the piece itself doesn't recall them. "Wasted Land" picks up on the eastern and percussive elements in "World...," which precedes it, but this is a darker, heavier, beefier track. If "World..." shows you what he sees, "Wasted Land" puts you in the midst of it. And in the wake of Live 8 (which was just the past weekend, as I write this), this songs seems particularly poignant.

"Bound To Reach The End" is a mellow coda to everything*... though before I looked at the sleeve and song titles, I kept thinking Lang was singing something ending with "Requiem" ... and it's then that I thought of Steve Hackett's "In Memoriam." "Bound..." features another beautiful, soaring guitar solo from Wallner... have I already added him to my favorite guitarists list? No, I haven't... so I'm doing so now!

Terrific album. I absolutely love it! And I think it just might be their best release to date, and their first two (haven't yet heard Stock, but I shant be delaying that much longer) were very good, indeed... If their next album is even better than this...

Sleep (7:10) / Start The Fire (5:06) / Everything Was Not Enough (8:42) / Roses (5:39) / 3 Lights (7:30) / Sea-Nature (8:10) / Day On My Pillow (4:22) / World Through My Eyes (10:04) / Wasted Land (4:52) / Bound To Reach The End (6:39)

Yogi Lang - vocals, keys
Stephan Ebner - bass
Kalle Wallner - guitar
Manfred Müller - drums

God Has Failed (2000)
Trying To Kiss The Sun (2002)
Stock (2003)
World Through My Eyes (2005)
Live - Start The Fire (2005)
The RPWL Experience (2008)
The RPWL Live Experience (2009)
Gentle Art Of Music (2010)
Beyond Man And Time (2012)
A Show Beyond Man And Time (2013)
Wanted (2014)
RPWL Plays Pink Floyd (2015)
RPWL Plays Pink Floyd - The Man And The Journey (2016)
A New Dawn (2017)

The RPWL Live Experience (DVD) (2009)
A New Dawn (2017)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin DE

Added: July 4th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.rpwl.net
Hits: 2029
Language: english


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