Band: The Arc Light Sessions

CD Title: Kaleidoscope

Website: www.arclightsessions.com

Label: Independent Release (2016)

Rating: Satisfying 3/5


For those of you who missed The Arc Light Sessions 2015 debut Perchance to Dream, they are back with Kaleidoscope, reflecting a change in personnel and what I think is a much stronger set of symphonic prog compositions. This band/musical project is the brain-child of John Alarcon. Coming in at just under an hour, these eleven tunes range in length from three to nine minutes but in many respects the length of the tracks really seems to have no bearing on the proggy feel of the whole listen. Itís worth pointing out that four of the tracks are instrumental which adds to the musicality present. There is a very European feel that runs throughout; at times I hear hints of Spanish, French or even Italian Progressive Rock bands. The whole package it wrapped up with a distinctly early Genesis vibe especially in the keyboard department. The only things missing perhaps are the twelve-string guitars. What is present, a lot, are the flute and the Mellotron; they show up all over the place in classic symphonic prog fashion. New vocalist Chris Atwill brings a sincere earnestness to the microphone as well as more than a hint of accent and while itís not distracting it does tend to draw attention to that ďEuropeanĒ feel. Speaking of guitars, they tend to take a back-seat on the disc, with the obvious emphasis on the many different keyboard sounds. This gives a more orchestrated feeling to these compositions as well as a softer, at times more pastoral tone with subtle ascending lines building in power only to softly modulate before shifting in time and tempo taking a composition in a completely different direction. The music is complex without being intricate or fiddly. Itís another step in the right direction in my books. Fans of symphonic prog would do well to check out The Arc Light Sessions as there is much to enjoy here.