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Morning Lights

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Album Review

Any criticisms you may have about Trespass' debut album will be lifted by Morning Lights. This sophomore release represents a big step forward for the Israeli trio. The music is still largely rooted in the Nice/ELP axis, although weighing more on the Nice side of the equation in some aspects, particularly in the more overt classical music influences, and the nasty Hammond organ sound. Gil Stein still lacks a powerful voice, but he has definitely grown as a singer, sounding more assured and showing improved pronunciation. And his multi-tracked wordless choruses have a wonderful divine quality to them. The lyrics are also much better, both in terms of content and proper English. Morning Lights contains five pieces falling into two categories. The first, "Song of Winds," and last two, "Vivaldish" and "Forest Birds' Fantasy," are pastoral instrumentals with a strong Baroque leaning. "Song of Winds" is a take on Bach with shepherdish recorders providing color, while "Vivaldish" is an adaptation of Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in A Minor. "Forest Birds' Fantasy" sticks to a similar mood, adding birdsongs and other peaceful environmental sounds to the mix. The other category of pieces found on this album holds two epic progressive rock tracks, both excellent. The 22-minute title track is an impressive workout opening with backward tapes (from "Song of Winds"?). It has a good buildup, strong lyrics and memorable melodies. Its only possible flaw is its relentless drive; even in the quieter moments, there are so many overdubbed keyboards, so many lines intertwining, that there is no room for the listener to breathe. The 12-minute "Ripples" is more balanced and provides the album's undisputed highlight. Here, musicianship and songcraft come together, like in the best songs from the vintage progressive rock canon. A significant improvement over In Haze of Time, this album surely deserves a place in year-end prog lists. ~ François Couture, Rovi

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