Leap Day, Awaking The Muse, 2009

leap day - awaking the museA little confession is at order here… I often hesitate to buy albums from neo prog bands because of my fear of how the lead vocals will sound. I love vocalists with a strong and varied sound (for instance Dio, Jorn Lande, Russel Allen) and alas, in this style you hardly find them.

So the first question to answer is, how does this band fare in that aspect? Well, singer Jos Harteveld may certainly not fall into my favourite category, and at times may even miss a few notes trying, I do think he is capable of a listen-able experience. This is partly due to the clever arrangements from the band. There is a lot going on, but how strange is that with 2 keyboard players in the band. That said, that may also be a turn down for some people. All 6 musicians seem to feel a need to be present at all times. So the sound does get a little crowded and takes time to digest. Little open space here!

Nevertheless, in it´s genre I feel this band is a welcome addition. The craftsmanship is high, the band write recognisable tunes with a lot of melody, especially in the (guitar) soloing and instrumental phrasing. And with all 7 songs lasting between six and a half and nine and a half minutes, that instrumental showcasing gets a lot of room. And oh yes, Hammond organs present! To counterpart all that, the band have come up with some funny lyrics. Little Green Men anyone?

Personal play tips: Secret Gardener, Shop Window Dummies, Eyes Wide Open.