Welcome to day 6 of my ‘Album of the Year 2017 top 30 countdown’.
Bored yet? I hope not, because I’m only just getting into my stride. More than any other year, I am very excited to share this list with you. Not only do I now have my biggest number of loyal readers and followers to sate, I now have what I dreamed of having several years ago when I began my humble blog; my own website with bespoke artwork and a fully-fledged, original design.
I haven’t yet taken the plunge and recruited any other writers to my cause because I’m too much of a control freak and I just want to do this by myself. It means that if you dislike my writing style, you’re not likely to see an improvement in the near future. But, if my waffle appeals, you’re in for a lot more of the same over the coming year or three.
But back to the present and today I bring you my choice at number 25 in my list.
If you have missed any of the previous posts in this series, links can be found at the bottom of this post along with links to the entire countdowns from previous years.
The Big Dream
“Depending on my mood, the music on ‘The Big Dream’ is powerful enough to move me to tears. At others, I just allow myself to be enveloped in the rich tapestry of sounds, textures and moods that Lonely Robot seems able to effortlessly create, all wrapped up in a cosy progressive rock blanket.
…there isn’t a wasted moment, a weaker track or a let-up in the quality on offer. It takes its time to work its magic though, so if you feel uneasy or underwhelmed after a first spin, listen again. And then again, several times more. The payoff is well worth it.
Undoubtedly prog rock at its heart, there is a much more dreamy and almost dark feel to this album, whilst the melodies feel more refined and take longer to make their mark. ‘The Big Dream’ is arguably less cinematic than its predecessor as well, but the synths remain an integral ingredient, bathing each and every composition with a sophisticated, multi-layered glow…”
Read the full review here.
There just had to be something more of a prog rock vein somewhere in my countdown didn’t there? More specifically, given my not-so-secret penchant for the sub-genre, there had to be something neo-prog like. And here it is. Lonely Robot, the name under which the prolific musician John Mitchell gives us some of his most personal and powerful work. It is also, without doubt, some of his very best work. Bearing in mind that Mitchell has links with Arena, It Bites and Frost*, this should speak volumes about the quality that Lonely Robot possesses.
‘The Big Dream’ follows on from the highly enjoyable debut ‘Please Come Home’ and, if anything, is even better. The debut just missed out on a spot in the corresponding countdown but there was never any doubt in my mind that ‘The Big Dream’ would feature.
What I refer to in my review and still find so utterly compelling, is the lyrical content and the voice samples that crop up throughout the album. As someone who has struggled with the concept of death and dying from an early age, the subject matter is both uncomfortable and compelling. Several months on, I still get chills that run up and down my spine when a certain sentence is uttered, such is the power of the subject matter and the sophisticated way in which it is delivered.
Add to this some seriously rich, atmospheric and textured music, where the melodic sensibilities accentuate the darker themes and we’re faced with a fantastic album to which I return again and again.
If you missed either of my 2017 ‘honourable mentions’ posts, here they are should you be interested:
Previous posts in my 2017 Top 30 countdown:
And from previous years: