Exposé Online banner

Magnatar — Parallel Worlds
((Not on label) No #, 2019, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2019-09-22

Parallel Worlds Cover art

Having been a mandolin player since I was around fifteen years old and having written about half a dozen songs on it, I’ve always wanted to hear a band that made good use of the instrument in a rock setting. Mandolin is standard fare in bluegrass, country, jazz, folk and classical, but the rock bands that have used it as a basic core instrument can be counted on one hand (Horslips, FM, The Hooters… are there any others?) and even in those cases it’s usually a violin player doubling on it. So needless to say I was optimistically interested when I heard about Magnatar, a five-piece based in DeLand, Florida, where the main composer in the group (Glenn Smith) is also a full-time mandolin player. On Parallel Worlds, their debut album, they are fully intrumental and squarely operating in the classic progressive rock style. The other band members are keyboardist Dave Norton, guitarist Ryan Rivas, bassist Joey Costa, and drummer Reed Hayes. I don’t think that one needs to hear more than the album’s opening title track to understand that one of their major influences is Yes, back in those early days of The Yes Album and Fragile. Costa’s arsenal of Rickenbacker basses, and Rivas’ Steve Howe-like attack underscore this at various points throughout the album, and Smith’s compositions for the most part reflect this as well. There are notable differences as well, and the choice to create an album like this without any vocals is primary among them, as well as the front-and-center mandolin. Most songs are between five and eight minutes, steering clear of excessive length, though nonetheless sharing similar compositional complexities that any prog fan should appreciate. Only a couple of the album’s nine tracks were not written by Smith, the first would be the beautiful keyboard piece “Solara” written by Norton, which acts as an extended intro to the Smith penned track “New Galaxy” that follows it. “A Walk in the Park” written by Rivas, which is the album’s most unplugged piece, featuring an opening nylon string and steel string duet, moving onto some beautiful solos and elaborations over its five minute duration, with hand percussion in lieu of a standard drum kit. Very nice indeed. Magnatar is a very promising band to be this cohesive on their debut, and I look forward to the second helping.


Filed under: New releases, 2019 releases

Related artist(s): Magnatar

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/magnatar3

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 Liberation. 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...

Whitechapel - Le Masque d'Arlequin – Yes, it's a French band that sings about a jester. To be honest, it's probably just the title track that's about the jester or harlequin in question, but it also has a jester's face on the cover. With...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues