Band: Monarch Trail
CD Title: Sand
Label: Perpetual Tree Music (2017)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
Here is album number two from the Canadian trio known as Monarch Trail. Made up of drummer Chris Lamont, bassist Dino Verginella and keyboardist Ken Baird the music on Sand will be sure to excite fans of mid-period Genesis styled symphonic Progressive Rock. Clocking in at fifty-five minutes, these seven compositions place the emphasis on layers of lushly orchestrated keyboard work and itís a hugely satisfying listen on so many levels. I will say that guitars are present on a few tracks, supplied by special guests, but it is the keyboards, bass and drums that define the sound of Monarch Trail. These tunes are built around long and involved instrumental passages, line upon ascending line build excitement and tension only to blossom into brilliant arpeggios that then form descending lines of music that abruptly change the songís time, tempo and tone. Grand swells of music punctuate melodic musical themes where again itís the keyboard taking the lead role, performed in a style Tony Banks would be proud of. All of these compositions are complex without feeling the need to be intricate in performance. Sometimes the symphonic approach takes a filmic score approach and other times the music relies on the classic symphonic prog defining characteristics. Vocals are soft and pleasant and appear here and there, as almost accents to the music. Monarch Trail pull out all the stops with the epic-length title track ďSandĒ [24:31] that closes the album. Made up of multiple segments, it features everything that is great about the symphonic genre. This is big music, richly orchestral and romantic in style and will undoubtedly be a very satisfying listen to fans of Wind and Wuthering era Genesis. For me, I loved every minute of it and for that reason Iím giving it my highest recommendation.