Exposé Online banner

Active Heed — Visions from Realities
((Not on label) no#, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2013-10-10

Visions from Realities Cover artIt's been a while since an album struck me so divergently as Active Heed's full-length debut. The opening track, "Flying Like a Fly," while sonically pleasant to listen to, has lyrics that at first seemed like really awkward English written by a non-native speaker. "Flying like a fly / Like if it was my very first flight, / Floating on the floor / In this sunny day." Then I was strongly reminded of Flight of the Conchords — as a parody of pretentious prog-rock lyrics, it works pretty well. The problem with that theory is that on the whole, Visions from Reality seems like a serious work, which puts me back to the first impression. Setting aside the lyrics for a moment, the music is melodic and varied enough to avoid stagnation, with all the players acquitting themselves admirably. Acoustic guitar forms the base of most of the songs, sometimes lending an jangly mood reminiscent of R.E.M., sometimes leaning more to the Classical nylon-string sound. Umberto Pagnini's compositions are nicely arranged by Lorenzo Poli, who handles a lot of the instruments himself; Pellek (Per Fredrik Åsly) contributes the lead vocals; others handle drums and backing vocals. Pellek has a very nice voice, strong when it needs to be, delicate when that's called for, and his accented pronunciation only occasionally mars the listener's experience. The vocal lines are often very "composerly" — giving the impression of having been written on paper without too much consideration of how they would sound in performance: the accents often come at very awkward places in the phrases, and many parts include rapid rhythms that Pellek struggles to keep up with. But don't let these factors deter you — if you're a fan of melodic symphonic prog without rough edges, this is a very enjoyable set of music, an admirable accomplishment.

Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Active Heed

Latest news

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more

2020-10-14
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more

2020-10-06
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Virgil Moorefield - Distractions on the Way to the King's Party – Moorefield was a guitarist (one of many), then drummer, with Glenn Branca's ensemble for many years. This is his first album in a decade and his first for Cuneiform. He plays drums here and did all of...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues