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For Absent Friends — Square One
(Musea FGBG 4681.AR, 2006, CD)

by Pam Thompson, Published 2008-10-01

Square One Cover art

If you like more rock with your progressive, this is the album for you. Dutch band For Absent Friends’ eighth album is 45 minutes of solidly played (dare I say it?) neo-progressive that is elegantly basic, with very clean production where everything is heard in every track. Songs build and fade, with a compositional maturity that keeps the music balanced. Nothing flashy jumps out here, just tightly played songs with intense vocals by Hans Van Lint, beautiful negative spaces, and beefy-yet-subtle guitar by Edwin Roes. Ron Mozer’s piano and vintage keyboard sounds fit well here, and don’t sound dated. while Edwin Wernke’s drumming is tasty, from tribal-flavored grooves to proggy fills, and René Bacchus’ bass is solid on the bottom end. Of interest is “Billy,” written by Ange, which features Christian Décamps on vocals — if you’re going to do a cover song this is a good way to do it. It makes an interesting contrast to the rest of the album, as the style is much more involved and features a tasty sax solo. Placing it as the last track on the CD was a good move, as it is distinctly different from the rest of the band’s material. An album that gets better with repeated listenings.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 36, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Christian Décamps, For Absent Friends

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