A few years ago (June 2002) I used the words beautiful and passion to describe Quidam's album “The time beneath the sky”. And I even told you that it was one of the most beautiful albums I heard that year. Also I remember a great gig in Holland where Quidam performed a lot of the great tracks that were on that album. Singer Emila Derkowska sang as an angel and we all had a great time. But Emila has left the band and has been replaced by an male singer Bartek Kossowicz. Also Quidam has a complete new rhythm section. And all lyrics are sung in English on this new album “surREvival”. So I was very curious to hear their new music and didn't want to have too high expectations.
Zbyszek Florek - keyboards; Maciek
Meller - guitars, backing vocals
on “surREvival”; Bartek Kossowicz - vocals, backing vocals; Mariusz Ziólkowski - bass guitar; Maciek
Wróblewski - drums,
percussion; Jacek Zasada - flutes
Robert Kowalski - backing vocals; Grzegorz Nadolny - double bass; Pawel Molenda - scratch
To be honest I had no expectations at all. Disappointed that Emila was gone ... and the Polish lyrics were also gone. But the main composers of the previous album Zbyszek Florek and Maciek Meller were still there and the flute can give the music that special touch. When I listened for the first time to this album I had mixed feelings. The new singer Bartek Kossowicz is a good singer but I miss the delicacy of Emila's vocals. And why English lyrics ... the band is throwing away a part of that special Polish identity. Also the music is different. Five of the six members are mentioned as composers. That's a good thing and a band must be progressive and never take the same road but instead try to find new routes and develop as a band.
After the soundscape “Airing” (2:25) the first real track is “Hands off” (9:25). The opening is surprisingly up-tempo and with heavy guitar and a fat synth solo. There is a lot of variation in this track. After the heavy opening the band plays beautiful melodies and there are flute, synth, guitar and organ solos. The band shows a lot of power. “Not so close” (6:22) is more a ballad and opens with an acoustic guitar and nice melodic vocal refrains. If you listen to the album with your headphones you can hear that the music is full of delicate keyboard work of Zbyszek Florek. “The fifth season” (9:45) opens with a jazzy double bass and the track develops like a jazz fusion ballad with beautiful flute parts. You can hear that band is still capable of making that delicate music we also could hear on the album “The time beneath the sky”. But the music is more diverse, the band sounds very mature. In the title track “surREvival” we can hear a short passionate electric guitar part of Maciek Meller. Some of you will miss that long passionate soaring guitar solos of the first albums. But the truth is that Maciek has developed as a guitarist and composer the last years and has become more alround. Maciek Meller and Zbyszek Florek are playing for the compositions. There are some heavy guitar parts in this track. “Queen of Moulin Rouge” shows again the delicate side of Quidam. Beautiful vocal melodies combined with delicate guitar, keyboards and flute. But halfway the tension and the tempo is slowly building up and the track is getting more powerful. The album closes with the long track “Everything's ended” (13:14) that has atmospheric keyboards. And here is the long awaited guitar solo of Maciek ... always too short. A mysterious track that is slowly working towards a climax before the music slowly dies away.
Because of all the new members and the English vocals it is not fair to compare this new Quidam with the old Quidam. The positive thing is that the new Quidam is still developing as a band and is searching for new routes in progland. But at the same time the music has more rock influences and could be interested for a bigger audience. I enjoyed the delicate and diverse keyboard work of Zbyszek Florek. Also I'm glad that there is still a place for the flute in Quidam's music. But I always will miss Emila Derkowska and the symphonic side the band had in the first years. But that is another (and closed) chapter of the book. I'm glad that the band survived ... “surREvival” is a good album that grows every time you listen to it.