“Somewhere in the dark” is the first “full size” album of the Swiss band Deep Thought and contains songs they wrote in the period from 1997-2002. Earlier they produced two demo cd’s, that feature songs that are also present on “Somewhere in the dark”. The band plays music in the traditional symphonic rock style, which means quite long pieces with lots of pleasant keyboard sounds and solos, guitars solos and a rich variation in themes, moods and times scales.
Band members are Martin Altenbach (drums), Pat Merz (vocals), Marcel Oehler (guitars), Dominik Pfleghaar (keyboards) and Dominik Rudmann (bass, Taurus bass pedals).
The album opens with a fine song called “Clock” (10:09) which together with the more up-tempo track 7 “Ice” (10:14) is one of the strongest pieces of the album. Listening to this songs and also tracks like the short piece “Waiting for darkness” (2:46) my associations with the sound of Deep Thought go more to IQ than the references they mention themselves, that is Marillion and early Genesis.
Track 2 “Changing the rules” (4:45) features a “classic” instrumental second half with a guitar and synth duet. Such a duet can also be heard in track 4 “Simple man” (10:25) a rather atmospheric piece that reminds a bit of “Tubular Bells” because of its sound and floating theme. In “Shadows of the past” (7:27) a mellotron comes by. “Driving” (5:09) is a more swinging song with a not so original “radio sound” introduction. Track 8 “Morphios” (6:45) is the last fine piece of the album, which unfortunately finishes weak with the longest piece “Mud on the hill”(14:35). The “bluesy” influences and guest vocals of Isabelle J. Fischer here cannot lift up the outdated sound of this piece, especially because of a long guitar solo with a very wrong sound.
This final track is in my opinion the showcase of all the weaknesses I find on this album and it are these weaknesses that prevent me from appreciating this album more than average, even after repeated playing. Although songs and musicianship of this album are good I dislike the “cheap” and outdated fuzz guitar sound that features most of the songs. Vocals also aren’t bad, but miss some sense of drama and dynamics to really make me enthusiastic. This also goes for production, which could have been more sparkling. Deep Thought has enough potential to make a more than average album, so I’m looking forward to that.