that point Somebody wraps her body around Nobody and starts sharing
her deepest fears and dreams with him ... And in the heat of this growing
interaction the two creatures end up melting together in what could
have been Anybody.”
[excerpt from the story of Nobody - concept created by Joost Hagemeijer]
“Facing the sunset” was presented by the band in a small venue (“de Gigant”) in my hometown Apeldoorn. After “Massive hollowness” and “Touch wood” their third album is a real concept album. “This is the story about Nobody. Nobody is special. Nobody believes he is what others believe he is.” In my review of “Touch wood” I asked the question; can you be disappointed by an album with good compositions. At the time I was disappointed because the compositions were good, their live performances where good, but somehow the band wasn't able to translate all this into a good sounding album. That must have been frustrating for the band. For myself, after writing the review I have never listened to the album again. But I still follow the band and visit their concerts whenever I can. So I'm pleased that I can inform you that Mangrove has created with “Facing the sunset” a fine sounding album with some very good melodic prog music.
Roland van der Horst - guitars, vocals; Joost Hagemeijer - drums, vocals; Pieter Drost - bass; Chris Jonker - keyboards
Let's talk about the music. First thing you will notice when you have
the album in your hands is the fact that there are only four compositions
on Mangrove's third album. The album opens
with the title track “Facing
the sunset” (13:53). In the instrumental opening of this
track the band is showing all the power they have. After this
the band is slowing down with delicate vocals by drummer Joost
Hagemeijer in combination with
a melody played on organ. Later also combined with melodic guitar
work of Roland
van der Horst and the Mellotron strings of Chris
Jonker. The other vocal parts are sung
by Roland van der Horst. Everything accompanied
by a steady rhythm section. A good varied track that will be a great
opener for their live gigs.
Second track is called “I fear the day” (10:12) and starts with a beautiful piano intro in the style of Erik Satie. This is a very relaxed sympho piece with great melodies that has some references to Camel and early Steve Hackett. Later on Mellotron strings are combined with acoustic guitars. This works wonderfully well. But the strongest thing of the composition is the melody. This strong composition includes also some very delicate keyboard work of Chris Jonker.
The next track “There must be another way” (12:31) is more up-tempo and has more power. But this track also includes a beautiful part on classical guitar. Like in the previous track it seems that Roland on this album is inspired by Steve Hackett. Later on the tension of the music is slowly building up with aggressive guitar parts and threateningly keyboards and is climaxing with melodic guitar- and keyboard solo's.
The longest track of the album is called “Hidden dreams” (20:58). The first five minutes are more rock orientated. To be honest ... not my cup of tea. After this rocky opening the piece develops into a varied sympho track with melodic keyboard- and guitar parts. Halfway the organ sound of the openings track returns. It reminds me of an album from one of the best (but also underrated) Dutch bands, Solution. Also Chris Jonker gets the time to play some synth solo's and shows us the progression he has made. His sound pallet is still growing. I like keyboard players who are not freaky and are playing for the composition. People who visited the CD party will say ... and what about the sunglasses! ... well I'm only talking about the music here. That's another story ...
With “Facing the sunset” the band has made a very strong album. The band can be proud. A good sounding album full of beautifully melodic music. Good balanced compositions with a lot of variation. Together with the power they have on stage I can only conclude that for Dutch proggers Mangrove the future is bright.