Tuesday, December 10, 2013

XNA When We Changed You Cleopatra 2013

The most exciting prog rock release of the year!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Prog rock gets a bad rap...even the label has at least a half dozen spin offs like art rock etc...
Allow me to come at XNA and their new release from a slightly different perspective. Imagine the lyrics of early Rush and the layers of sound that Yes and early Genesis are known for and you have one of the most exciting new bands of the year. Is there still a market for prog rock? Sure...when done well and XNA is a finely crafted bit of sonic splendor overseen by famed producer Billy Sherwood.
The band is built around Genesis tribute vocalist David Hussey and keyboardist Adam Malin a co founder of Creation Entertainment which happens to be the firm responsible for the original Star Trek conventions. Oddly enough both William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy offered high praise for this most auspicious debut release. Guitarist Danny Bryle is indeed a harmonic wizard with the technical ability to go toe to toe with any of his contemporaries while drummer Scott Connor keeps the rhythmic pulse on the straight and narrow.
Lyrically solid, the conceptual base of this release is a somewhat more modern approach to the classic prog sounds of yesterday that have simply been blessed by the progress made in digital technology and unlike their more classic counterparts mentioned earlier the sound is far from dated. There are layers of texture and a melodic sense of purpose that never waivers.

Tracks: At Childhood's Beginning; When We Changed You; Banner of the Whyte Boar; The Flying Dutchman; The Vale of Avalon; Annapurna; At Childhood's End.