Epic, Neo, Symphonic
"With "War and Peace and Other Short Stories", Sean Filkins, former singer of Big big Train, shows the progressive world the full extent of his talents as an inspired composer."
TONYB (30.05.2011)  
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After having spent a decade as a singer in Big Big Train, Sean Filkins took off on his own, with a first noticed participation in the last album of Lee Abraham, former bass player of Galahad. Under the guidance of the latter, he releases today his first solo effort, although this last term is somewhat abusive because our man has surrounded himself devilishly well for this realization.

Gathering some neo-progressive stars, such as Gary Chandler (Jadis) or John Mitchell (Arena), "War and Peace and Other Short Stories" is an album on which Sean Filkins takes the time to unfold his ideas, through tracks whose only reading of their duration lets imagine the multiple developments to come. After the appetizer The English Eccentric, a rather classical neo-progressive piece that is well done and allows Gary Chandler to send us a little solo that he knows how to do, it's time for the first strong track with a 30 minutes long suite, 'Prisoner of Conscience', proposed in two parts.

Long instrumental introduction, with percussions and "exotic" instruments, successions of themes with unstoppable melodies, stacking of instruments for impressive symphonic choruses, luminous guitar soli before a small passage of flamenco, everything is gathered here to propose to the listener a great classic of the genre, of those that we listen again and again, looking for the small additional detail which will make the auditory pleasure go up always more. The arrangements have a crazy class, and one wonders about the formidable capacity of the man to renew the interest throughout such titles.

And what about 'Epitaph for a Mariner', which takes the same codes but perfects them even more? A formidable instrumental power surge spreading over nearly 9 minutes comes to "introduce" this new 20-minute epic, which continues with a vocal and musical fireworks, bringing the listener into territories where emotions and pleasure mix without stopping, before a return to the calm with a piano.

Sean Filkins does not hesitate to enrich his music with slightly offbeat elements, such as an adaptation of 'Jerusalem', a British classic from the beginning of the 20th century, which gently introduces the album, under an oh so evocative title (Are you Sitting Comfortably!), or another choral piece to open 'Epitaph for a Mariner'.

With this first album, Sean Filkins shows the progressive world the full extent of his talents as an inspired composer, supported by a high quality of arrangement. Generating long-lasting emotions and promising repeated listenings, this musical fireworks can only be found in your record library alongside other small bands such as Genesis or Pendragon. Now you know what you have to do.
- Official website

01. Are You Sitting Comfortably - 1:06
02. The English Eccentric - 8:46
03. Prisoner Of Conscience - Part1, The Soldier - 19:21
04. Prisoner Of Conscience - Part2 - The Ordinary Man - 11:02
04. Epitaph For A Mariner - 20:53
05. Learn How To Learn - 7:28

Dave Meros: Basse
Garima: Sitar
Gary Chandler: Guitares
Gerald Mulligan: Claviers
John Mitchell: Guitares
John Sammes: Claviers
Lee Abraham: Guitares / Basse / Claviers
Rob Arnold: Piano
Sean Filkins: Chant / Guitares / Percussions, Didgeridoo
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