(All Album Reviews by Boceephus)
- John Sahagian / lead vocals, acoustic guitar
- Tim LaRoi / electric and acoustic guitar
- Bill Kiser / drums, vocals
- Tom Burke / bass, vocals
Relayer ditched its keyboard player for this release, so singer John Sahagian and guitarist Tim Laroi took over the duties. The result is atmospheric keyboard washes rather than a soloing instrument, nether player stretches out. Guitar dominates the music, which reduces the prog element, but seems to free the band to play more immediate "live" sounding music. The Yes moments from Teething Fashion are pretty much non-existent. The members have eschewed the flavorings for a more hard rock approach. There are a few lighter moments, but over-all, they show off their rock chops.
The vocals are the key here. John Sahagian has a voice that demands to be heard. He still has the Freddie Mercury inflections as I stated on the Teething Fashion review, but is more straight ahead here than the playfulness of the past. For me, this is the strength of Relayer. The bass playing of Tom Burke really comes out in this release, nice heavy bottom, not flashy, just solid. Bill Kiser keeps things together with strong drumming and tasteful fills, not flashy either; simply a solid foundation for Tim Laroi's chunky guitar work. Laroi's playing is neither over the top nor understated. He plays for the song. It all seems to work in an organic fashion; everything meshes and creates a lush sonic cornucopia of tones and melodies.
They aren't playing anything new or groundbreaking, what they are playing is just great music with some key prog elements; shifting gears from quiet, soft interludes to powerful climaxes, long multi-segmented tunes with odd meters, highly professional instrumental passages and well written lyrics. This is an album made to be played live.
This disc would appeal to fans of Salem Hill, IZZ, Marillion, Jadis...... Queen? Only if you liked when Freddie rocked.