PBII, 1000 Wishes, 2013
PBII is a continuation of Dutch progrock legends PlackBand. Well, legendary to some, as I never was able to get into that band for reasons unknown. So you will understand I was a little reluctant to put this album in the player and spend considerable time with this 1000 Wishes release. Despite the good cause it represents, and despite the fact that so far label Freia continues to deliver quality music.
And boy, am I glad I did. In no way this reminded me of days gone by. New singer Ruud Slakhorst proved quite the find, with a timbre not unlike that of Jon Anderson, yet with his own character. Also musically this sounds much more contemporary. And the addition of the Hague Youth Symphony Orchestra and several other guests (like one Steve Hackett) is not to be dismissed either. No, all parts united created the story of Erik, a young boy fighting cancer. That is also the reason why the band have found a lot of sponsors to make a live rendition possible (that is now available on DVD) and made sure that all net proceeds go to the Dutch children´s Cancer Foundation KiKa.
But on to the music. A few tracks are reserved to tell (parts of) the story. And the rest is just wonderful progressive rock music. Because of the dynamics and the timbre of Slakhorst I was sometimes reminded a bit of Yes in the more peaceful parts, but overall this stands on it´s own feet. Highly entertaining, executed to perfection and a must buy for anyone into the genre. So I may not have been ready for this band in the past, but I am ready for them now. Excellent!