I had no idea what to expect when I first received Alias Eye’s Different Point Of You. I had heard positive things about them, but didn’t really have a style in mind. The first song starts out with a mid-eastern intro that quickly transforms into a standard Chord driven rock song. “The Clown” has powerful guitars, good lyrics, and a unique mid-eastern counter melody flowing throughout.
First impressions are always important to me, and I quickly assumed that I was going to be listening to a ‘hard’ rock CD with interludes of instrumentation. “A Clown’s Tale”, a good song, is in this vein.
“Fake The Right”, the second song on the CD, quickly changed my assumption. Imagine a Dave Mathew’s song with balls and you get a picture of this great song. The bass playing by Frank Fischer is the basis for this song with a saxophone and keyboard funk line that keeps your tows tapping. The vocals keep this song from feeling cheesy and actually reminds me a little of Fish (Sunsets on Empire era).
“Your Other Way” once again changes style and kicks off with a Spanish guitar introduction and a nice driving bass line. This song has a Toto feel to it and really keeps your attention. After the hard rock and funk rock of the first 2, this semi-ballad is the perfect break. Any CD that has 3 opening songs with 3 distinct styles played excellently really gets high marks in my book. An accordion makes a surprising transition into a great guitar led closing to this song. Matthias Richter is not flashy, but his guitar work is worth noting as clean and precise.
“Icarus Unworded” keeps us with the semi-ballad. A piano / vocal introduction gets us into a beautiful song that reminds me of the new Guy Manning CD. The keyboards give the full orchestral feel. This song is a show case for Phillip Griffiths’s vocals. The guy has some powerful pipes. Again, great guitar work by Richter.
Song 5, The Usual Routine, brings a Steely Dan style to the CD. This song is very funky and has the perfect mix of rhythm and background instrumentation. There is a brief guitar section that again reminds me of Dave Matthews, but the song structure is way more complex than anything that he put out. Timo Wagner adds nice reed instruments throughout and his saxophone play verses Lemke’s keyboard is excellent.
We go right back to the ballad with “Drifting”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Grffiths voice, but after the awesome “Usual Routine”, it would have been nice to leap into a keyboard driven progressive follow up.
Oops, I was 3 minutes too early. Song 7 and 8 bring the progressive rock back. Saga clashes with Marcus Miller to make “On The Fringe”. The bass playing is awesome and instead of being the pillar of the song, actually provides the counter rhythm. The vocals and chorus remind me of House Of Cards era Saga. A real nice piano solo (supported by Cello) fills the middle of this gem.
Richter gets to show off with “The Great Open”. A classical opening reminded me of the Moody Blues “Meanwhile”. The song continues to pick up speed and intensity until we build to the choral peak. The background guitar work is very strong, but it is when Richter is given the lead that we feel his ability. This is their best song and one that hopefully will be the foundation that they build later albums on.
The CD closes with another jazzy, funk number. The brush drums and excellent bass work makes this final song “Too Much Toulouse” a perfect change of style to end a CD that is all about changing styles.
As someone new to Alias Eye, I can see why others have been raving about them. Every part of the CD is well thought out and played. One less ballad would have been my recommendation, but nit-picking something this good seems petty. I have used lots of comparisons in my review, but honestly, Alias Eye has a sound that is familiar but unique. Recommended for all fans of song-based prog.