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progVisions

progVisions is a progressive rock e-zine, published in English and made by an international group of members. Our objective is to become a centre of information that contributes to the knowledge, growth and development of progressive rock.

album reviews

album review

Sensitive to Light - Almost Human - 2006
album cover

    
Almost Human...
... or the story of a grown-up Pinocchio,
realizing how mortal he is, facing the eternal questions ...
Where do I come from ?
Why was I born ?
Why do we have to die ?

Sensitive to Light is the new French band of Vynce Leff. With Saens (Sens) Vynce made three albums. “Les regrets d'Isidore D.” , “Escaping from the hands of god” and “Prophet in a statistical world” were all three progressive albums for the adventurous progfan. Like many new progbands the lead vocals are sung by a female singer, Jenny Lewis. After listening to this debut album, I think that Sensitive to Light will attract a bigger audience but the fans of Saens will also like this album.

Vynce Leff - Guitars, vocals, keyboards, wind synths, production; Jenny Lewis -Lead vocals; Claude Thill - Bass, vocals, keyboards; Jean-Philippe Dupont - Keyboards, vocals; Georgio Salvini - Drums

Cyril Queneau - Saxophone; Seb Doncker - Snare drum

This concept album is inspired by the “Pinocchio” story of Carlo Collodi and it focus on the relation between the fairy (the "universal mother") and Pinocchio (the "universal son"). The vocal part of the fairy is sung by british singer Jenny Lewis. As you can hear in the opening track of the album “Pinocchio” (13:54) that is divided into two parts ( i. “Dreams Are Coming True Tonight” - ii. “Birth”) Jenny Lewis has a crystalline voice. In the short opener (1:53) the vocals are only accompanied by the keyboards. This goes seamless into “Birth” which starts with a soaring guitar solo of Vynce Leff. There are some references to the music of Saens in this track. But in overall the music is more melodic. The keyboards are full, orchestral and melodic. Like in his Saens period Vynce Leff's soaring guitar solo's are full with emotion and passion.

“Something Happened In The Garden Of Eden” (10:20) also reminds me of the the music of Saens. In the instrumental passages it has the complexity of the music of Saens. But when Jenny sings the music often gets more melody. I don't know if it is true but I can imagine that some of the music was already written with the band Saens in mind. But maybe I only talk about Vynce Leff's unique musical style.

“Carpe Diem” (6:04) is in a complete different style. This beautiful ballad with delicate vocals is written by Vynce Leff and Jenny Lewis. The next track is called “Kyrie (Gepetto’s death)” (5:18) and after a classical piano part and a mysterious part with synths the music slowly becomes more heavy and complex. The church organ gives the music a special and more classical feeling. This great track ends in a big climax. “Snow” (6:11) brings back the more melodic side of the music of Sensitive to Light. Also you can hear guest Cyril Queneau who plays the saxophone.

The upbeat “Travels” (3:28) which has an arabic atmosphere has a lot of power. Later on the saxophone and the piano gives the piece a jazzy touch. This is surprisingly followed by a blues part on the electric guitar and melodic vocals in “Father (The Truth)” (8:15). The jazzy piano returns and the tempo and the tension of the music is building towards a climax that is then followed by a delicate vocal part with acoustic guitar and sax. The ending, which is working towards a climax, is one of the highlights of the album. Great melodies! “Memories” (2:13) is the closing track with acoustic guitars.

The album also includes a bonus track. “Why?” (7:49) has a swinging opening with jazz influences and has delicious synth solo's and the music is again working towards a climax before it is ending with some vocals and acoustic guitar.

“Almost Human” is a fantastic debut album from a new french band called Sensitive to Light. In the music you can sometimes hear the spirit of Saens. That's why Saens lovers will also like this album. But with singer Jenny Lewis in the band I think that Sensitive to Light can reach a bigger audience than Saens. I don't know if this is the end of Saens (I don't hope so, I love the complex music of this band) but Sensitive to Light has a bright future ahead. If you are an adventurous prog lover and like emotion and passion in your prog .... check them out!

Douwe Fledderus - May 2006
rating - Cyclops

 

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