ARTIST:

NEAL MORSE

(UNITED STATES)
TITLE:

LIFE & TIMES

(2018)
LABEL:

RADIANT RECORDS

GENRE:

POP

/ ROCK
TAGS:
Easy-Listening, Groovy, Melancholic
"Making good pop is a difficult art. But Neal Morse excels at it!"
CORTO1809 (27.02.2018)  
4/5
(0) opinions from our readers (0) comment(s)

In order to fully appreciate this album, a small preamble seems to be necessary. Don't expect a new symphonic prog album like "The Great Experiment" or "The Similitude of a Dream". No lyrical flights of fancy or wild jousts between guitar and keyboards, it's his pop-rock side that Neal Morse explores on this "Life & Times".

Any cause of misunderstanding being thus removed, nothing prevents us from savouring these twelve little pop gems as they should be. Simple songs that never deviate from the tried and tested verse-chorus scheme, simple but not simplistic and benefiting from Neal Morse's immense know-how. A know-how that can be found first of all in the care given to the compositions: this guy is a melody genius who hits the bull's eye and who will engrave himself in your cortex or touch you in the heart. Not a single track seems superfluous, each one giving immediate pleasure from the first listening.

But Neal Morse's talent doesn't stop at his compositional gifts. For the greatest pleasure of the listener, he varies the atmospheres and cleverly mixes melancholic ('JoAnna', 'He Died at Home') and sunny ('Selfie in the Square', 'Wave on the Ocean') tracks, romantic ballads ('You + Me + Everything', 'Old Alabama') and mischievous ritornellas ('Manchester'), going from Neil Young to Daniel Powter, from Phil Collins to James Blunt, sometimes even reviving the Neal Morse of "Testimony One" ('Livin Lightly'). The zenith and the nadir of the album is certainly the opposition of 'Manchester', whose communicative good mood puts it alongside tracks like 'Singing in the Rain' or the Beatles' 'Good Day Sunshine', and 'He Died at Home', all in modesty and restraint, two models with perfectly successful opposite ambiences.

If "Life & Times" is above all an album of songs whose main element is the voice of Neal Morse, whose sensitivity and charisma can never be praised enough, the musical accompaniment is far from being relegated to the background. If there is practically no solo, apart from a few guitar protrusions, the instruments knit us a score full of delicacy and twists, the acoustic guitar and the piano being enriched here with strings, there with a trumpet or a horn, or even a steel guitar. Not forgetting Julie Harrison's delightful vocal presence on 'Alabama' in a romantic duo.

Neal Morse has already proved in the past that he is one of the greatest progressive rock artists of the last thirty years. With 'Life & Times' he also established himself as one of the best in the pop-rock category.


More informations on http://www.nealmorse.com/





TRACK LISTING:
01. Livin’ Lightly (05:00)
02. Good Love Is On The Way (03:51)
03. JoAnna (04:33)
04. Selfie In The Square (03:53)
05. He Died At Home (04:55)
06. She’s Changed Her Mind (03:59)
07. Wave On The Ocean (04:17)
08. You + Me + Everything (04:32)
09. Manchester (04:06)
10. Lay Low (03:59)
11. Old Alabama (04:45)
12. If I Only Had A Day (03:42)

LINEUP:
Neal Morse: Chant / Guitares / Basse / Claviers / Percussions / Mandoline / Choeurs
Chris Carmichael: Cordes
Dominique Caster: Trompette
Gabe Klein: Choeurs
Holly Smith: Cor
Joey Pippin: Voix (9)
Julie Harrison: Chant (11) / Choeurs
Richard Brinsfield: Basse
Scott Williamson: Batterie
Scotty Sanders: Pedal Steel Guitar / Dobro
Wil Morse: Choeurs
   
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4.5/5 (2 view(s))
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3.3/5 (3 view(s))
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