Band: White Willow
CD Title: Future Hopes
Label: Laser’s Edge Records (2017)
Rating: Great Stuff 4/5
This is album number seven for the Norwegian band White Willow, a band that came to prominence during the prog revival of the nineties. I for one am glad to see they’re still around making some great music. Future Hopes comes packaged in a spectacular Roger Dean designed sleeve and booklet. The album consists of fifty minutes of music, seven compositions including the epic length “A Scarred View” clocking in at over eighteen minutes. Musically White Willow has kind-of-been all over the map having started out more folk influenced and then going much heavier in the middle of their career. This album sees a return softer more ethereal side, with many moments of long drawn out introspection with haunting lines of music ascending and descending building tension and release. Sometimes it gets a bit spacey and sometimes majestic with grand swells of music. There are more than a few moments where the electric guitars and keyboards take over and build the music’s power and impact but the sound is never what I would call heavy prog. It’s become a cliché to say it, but the melancholy mood persists and I think it’s something that is simply innate to the compositional soul of so many Scandinavian bands. Female vocals this time around are handled by Venke Knutson and to my ears she fits in really well with the band’s sound this time around. And yes there some nice Mellotron moments here and there. Personally I prefer this more moody and atmospheric side of White Willow to the heavier prog of earlier albums. But good for them to experiment musically and yet retain a core signature sound. My guess is that if you’ve been a fan of other bands that came to prominence in the early nineties like Anglagard and Anekdoten, you will find this latest musical effort from White Willow a very pleasing and enjoyable listen. Certainly recommended to prog fans everywhere whole enjoy a little melancholy vibe in the symphonic prog.