Upfront I want to apologize as I am likely to not make many friends with this post. Matter at hand here is the 2007 debut from Breathing Space, called Coming Up For Air. It is the brainchild of Iain Jennings, so that might ring some bells.
Musically this is symphonic rock, bordering into mainstream rock. The instrument handling is fine, the songs are melodic, the production is at level, etc. The songs are varied, though pretty mellow most of the time. The packaging is professional. So it looks good as it sounds good.
So maybe you are wondering why I started with suggesting this post will not make me more friends. That brings me to the only problem I have with the album; the vocals of Olivia Sparnenn. Don´t get me wrong, she has an angelic voice, totally sings in tune and you can understand the lyrics.
It is just that I feel she sings very clinical. No emotion what so ever. Which is okay for any pop diva maybe, but not for serious music. Sorry to say this, but it actually spoils my listening pleasure. Where´s the drama, the feel, the hurting?
Let´s hope a lot of people will disagree with me. Fine, support the band and buy it. For me, despite liking the music, this will not be an album I will revisit often.
Recently I bought some cd’s from Dutch band Kayak. Kinda lost track of them after Periscope Life (1980), but I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I listened to “Close To the Fire” (2000) and “Coming Up For Air” (2008).
And some more albums are waiting to be heard.
In comparison to the older work I know, the dynamics have improved. By this I mainly speak of the guitar work; it is at times more heavier than I recall. That said; I like it a lot. Adds more bite to the music. Also the voice of singer Cindy Oudshoorn is a welcome addition to the sound of the band. I should mention however that both albums are recorded with a somewhat different cast. But the rest of the band knows what they are doing also. Most players are accomplished musicians and veterans on the scene. Shame drummer Pim Koopman died unexpectedly not so long ago.
Still the trademarks of the band are there; melodic, varied, sometimes even radio friendly songs. But for the proggies amongst us, they still know how to write some decent and varied tunes.
- Close to the Fire:
Close to the Fire, Crusader, Two Wrongs
- Coming up for Air:
Alienation, Man in the Cocoon, Time Stand Still
If you haven’t heard from them in a long time; go check them out again, it’s worth it!