Barock Project: DETACHMENT (Album of the Year?)

DETACHMENT by Barock Project                                                                                              Track List:                                                                                                                                              1. Driving Rain 1:03
2. Promises 5:05
3. Happy to see you 7:37
4. One day 7:23
5. Secret therapy 5:37
6. Broken (feat. Peter Jones) 9:10
7. Old Ghosts 4:07
8. Alone (feat. Peter Jones) 3:14
9. Rescue Me 4:55
10. Twenty years 6:06
11. Waiting 5:43
12. A New tomorrow 7:39
13. Spies 7:23                                                                                                                                credits                                                                                                                                        released March 20, 2017
Barock Project:
Luca Zabbini – piano, keyboards, acoustic guitars, lead vocals
Eric Ombelli – drums
Marco Mazzuoccolo – electric guitars
Francesco Caliendo – electric bass
Peter Jones – Lead vocal on “Broken” and “Alone”
PRODUCED AND MANUFACTURED BY ARTALIA – 22R
DISTRIBUTED BY: ARTALIA – STARS OF ITALY
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This masterpiece of music was released back in March and I now regret greatly not listening to it and reviewing it then. My rave review might have caused more of you to get it into your regular prog listening rotation a bit earlier. It should be on all end of the year BEST OF 2017 lists.

Their 2015 album ‘Skyline’ was my 15th favorite album of the year, but DETACHMENT is in the running for the top tier of three of four that are the finest 2017 releases.  They have “upped their game” by giving us a near-masterpiece of symphonic progressive beauty.

While loving all flavors of prog (and near/pseudo prog) from Zappa & The Residents to Vangelis and Jean-Michel Jarre, I have to admit that I’m a sucker for melody.  My favorites have always been bands such as Camel, The Moody Blues, Barclay James Harvest, and Renaissance. Barock Project has given us an album chocked full of stunningly well played and layered symphonic songs that make the lover of beatific tunes glad to be alive.

In my own rating system of “letter grades” (familiar to the American high school student) every song on the disc rates an “A” (exemplary) or “A+” (with tracks 11 & 12: ‘Waiting’ and ‘A New Tomorrow’ rated even higher!)  The album, running about 75 minutes, flows so perfectly from track to track that it makes an extremely enjoyable listening experience that never even hints at overstaying its welcome. Usually a shorter record (45 to 50 minutes in length) is seen as “tighter” and more cohesive. But with DETACHMENT the listener is kept asking from track to track “is this song going to be even better than the last one, which was better than the one before that?”  Indeed, most of the songs, as ‘singles’ would justify the full purchase price of the album.

‘Driving Rain’ has a light and delicate piano melody by Luca Zabbini which opens the album and leads to a rhythmic keys-driven ‘Promises’ that evokes the best of the synth-tape looped sound of classic electronica. There’s almost a 1970’s Styx (another band not unfamiliar to melody loving music mavens) “vibe” for a few second until the song morphs into a more prog metal sound.

‘Happy To See You’ uses electronic swells and grand piano along with a good blend of strings to build to an epic and catchy number that even has a great “Hammond” riff.  The 7-minute ‘One Day’ is another stirring and anthemic epic that with its own symphonic run reminds the listener of the boldness of early Renaissance (Scheherazade or Ashes are Burning) sans Annie.  ‘Secret Therapy’ (track 5) melds sounds of (almost) Oriental, Medieval, and Folk melodies into a whirling hybrid of harmony that is almost pop-prog (which is good) ala ELO.

Two tracks (‘Broken’ and ‘Alone’) feature the guest artistry (wizardry) of Peter Jones on keyboards and vocals.  ‘Broken’ at 9 minutes is so well-crafted that it might well be “song of the year.” It’s Genesis brilliant and worth the price of the album.  Track 11, ‘Waiting’ has a Lunatic Soul flavor in its initial opening moments but soon is galloping along with maybe the most glorious and uplifting piano melody on the disc.

You need to go to Bandcamp or YouTube and listen to DETACHMENT. You will thank me and you will purchase for yourself either a hard-copy physical CD or a download.

When a band mixes and melds the complex melody genius of The Beatles and Jethro Tull, with the commercial pop appeal of Asia and ELO, all the while refusing to sacrifice top-notch jazz, fusion, and prog metal riffs and runs, a listener realizes with pure delight that he/she is in the aural presence of masters.  Barock Project are Italy’s new maestros and one of the brightest lights in our current prog night sky of sound. This lush and gorgeous waterfall of music will indeed “detach” you from the dry and dusty day-to-day and paint your brain and soul with color, texture, and joy.  DETACHMENT is near perfect album that is simply one of the finest musical experiences of 2017.  A must buy!

Bandcamp link: https://barockproject.bandcamp.com/

Set Mellotron to 11

 

3 thoughts on “Barock Project: DETACHMENT (Album of the Year?)

  1. kruekutt

    Streamed the album earlier this year when it came out — liked it, but didn’t follow up. Your review prompted another, more in-depth listen; now it’s on my buy list. Thanks for encouraging me to give it another spin!

    Liked by 1 person

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