CD Reviews

Believe - 'World Is Round' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 01, 2011    
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The fourth studio album by Polish neo-Proggers Believe.

This is the fourth studio album by Polish neo-Proggers Believe, which is a finely crafted collection of songs, albeit a set that could be considered as a little too mellow for one body of work. That said, there's barely a weak track on offer amongst the ten under consideration (there's eleven on the digipack version) it's just that I'd prefer a bit more variety in the song dynamics as most seem to plough a similar furrow in terms of feel and tempo. For all that this is an album I have enjoyed immensely.

The album opens with a short, atmospheric burst of the title track before sweeping majestically into 'No Time Inside' a song that has a very pleasing mid-tempo beat and a lovely melody. Karol Wróblewski's vocals have a hint of Alison Moyet about them, albeit crossed with Gary Chandler (Jadis) and Steve Thorne. As always Mirek Gil's understated guitar work is excellent and on the solo I can't help but think of Steve Hackett (a very strong recommendation). A trait that gives the band an edge is the use of violin courtesy of Satomi, which is used sparingly but tellingly. By the end of the track I'd written in my notes, IQ, Jadis, Hackett, Steve Thorne and Kansas as elements that had come to mind and those influences recur throughout the album. The title track proper is up next and it turns out to be a mesmerising journey of melody and subtle musicianship, with a chorus that is instantly memorable. The keyboards of Konrad Wantrych form the basis of the song, but Gil's picked guitar is simple but effective and again the violin accentuation is a delight.

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'Cut Me, Paste Me' does change the feel with an aggressive riff, bordering on Punk, and processed vocals, whilst the guitar solo is a classic. 'Lay Down Forever' returns to the previously established vibe, and interestingly the accented vocals are suddenly more pronounced, but fortunately not to the extent of detracting. There's a touch of Pallas in this one with its pleasing arrangement and a refrain that has really got into my head. When the tempo changes mid song the instrumentation really brings Kansas to mind, although we're back in Jadis territory once the vocals return.

'So Well' starts with just drums and a beautiful violin refrain, which is then joined by a delicate piano and a delightful vocal that represents a wonderfully written and arranged song perfectly. 'Bored' picks up the pace a little, the initial acoustic guitar riff overlaid by the electric guitar morphing into a violin lead section. 'Guru' gives us another dose of those processed vocals of which I'm not a fan, and I have so say that of all the tracks this is the one that I'd slate as the weakest as it seems a bit haphazard and premeditated. 'New Hands' has a wonderful piano refrain and is another song to feature a memorable chorus.

The album's longest song, 'Poor King Of Sun/Return' clocks in at just under ten minutes and it concludes proceedings. A drawn out Middle Eastern intro is the prelude to a song that meanders with an easy grace.

Maybe not an album that will gain rave notices but it is a very nice listen.

Gary Marshall

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