Mary Leany - My Old Kentucky Blog
In his head, Gabriel Montana Leis heard the compositions that would form If.. being played on flugelhorn. So he learned the instrument. AndMie Araki morphed from a classically-trained percussionist into a kit and moog player for this album. But even with the Magik*Magik Orchestra adding violins and cello, If… is more than “chamber pop.” It isn’t quite full-on classical, either. This ambitious array of sounds ends up most easily fitting the “progressive” label.
Tidelands radiates a sort of innocence; it feels about 30 years out of time. Some of the tracks would go very well with latter-day Pink Floyd and Gabriel-era Genesis. Amulet, for instance, spreads rivulets of acoustic guitar over slightly ominous electric waves and modest sound effects. If you’re troubled by intermittent dissonance, or by frequent shifts in rhythm, If… may not be your cuppa chamomile. As a guilty-as-charged, intermittent-prog.-appreciator, I find it refreshing, stimulating, and likely to induce daydreaming. It doesn’t sound much like anything else that’s come out this year. If I’m wrong, and you know anything quite like it, I hope you’ll tell me.
And, jeez, with the dust from Comic Con still settling hereabouts, the images in the Holy Grail video aren’t seeming particularly unusual. No, I didn’t go. But kids dressed up as medieval characters and adults waxing happily, unabashedly geeky were popping up hither and yon, and a few of my friends are whistling happy little fantasy/sci-fi tunes after the experience.
Holy Grail is a little more Dungeons ‘n’ Dragons (invade your local diner?) than my If… faves, which include an exquisite four minutes & 51 seconds called Sixes and Sevens and the stimulating journey to be had with Marigolds.