Monday, June 20, 2016

Music Review - Dave Kerzner - New World

Yet another fine album that I need to listen to again.

Recently I was in my car listening to “Comfortably Numb” on the radio and I started to wonder how many times I’ve heard this song in my life. Two hundred? A thousand? Sure, it’s a great song but wouldn’t it be great if Pink Floyd put out some new music? Fat chance. It’s a good thing, then, that there’s someone like Dave Kerzner to fill the gap. Kerzner is a man who loves Pink Floyd more than most fish love water but fortunately he’s also such an amazing songwriter and gifted musician that the music on New World is no flat Floyd imitation. Instead it breathes and excites with a life and character of its own, though Floyd fans will appreciate that it sounds like it is a long-lost recording made between Momentary Lapse of Reason and Division Bell. The friends joining Kernzer speaks to his standing in the music community. Not only do classic rock prog-legends Steve Hackett and Keith Emerson lend their talents but former bandmate (and adopted Fort Wayne son/Sweetwater alum) Nick D’Virgilio plays most of the drums.

The fun starts with the ten minute “Stranded (Part 1-5)”, an expansive, mysterious adventure that, above all others, sounds like a missing piece of Darkside of the Moon, owing greatly to the wailing female vocals. The song ends with an invigorating chanting-vocal part that is surely a tribute to the song “Shadow Self” by former bandmate, the late, great Kevin Gilbert. Stepping out of the “progressive epic” mode is “The Lie”, an achingly beautiful song that could easily be a single on rock radio, especially with its heartfelt and perfectly restrained guitar solos. Another amazingly catchy rock song is “Nothing,” which sounds like a cross between E.L.O. and early Asia and culminates in a snide chorus of “All I need from you is nothing.” “Under Control” begins as a shadowy whisper but erupts into an insistent, pounding and creepy chorus of “I… am… under control,” though it sounds as if it’s more of a last desperate hope than a confident statement. Immediately following is the instrumental “Crossing of Fates” featuring a Keith Emerson moog solo. Mournful horns predict dark skies while stabs of guitars put one off balance in this cinematic masterpiece that is enthralling throughout. The album ends with the second half of “Stranded”, packing in many changes in mood and tempo into its seventeen minute length, at times driving yet restrained (as exemplified by Pink Floyd) and other times chilling, somber, plaintiff, and hopeful.

If you can’t tell, this reviewer thinks that New World is an astounding album, possibly the best I’ve heard in the last six months, and I’m not even a huge Pink Floyd fan! New World incorporates a breath-taking kaleidoscope of sounds and textures, wrapping them around skillfully written songs that catch in the brain while at the same time rousing the heart.

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