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Brother Ape - 'Force Majeure' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/be/ae/b6/Brother-Ape-Force-Majeure-48-1375492242.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     August 03, 2013    
 
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This is twenty first century prog of style and grace.

Album number six from this Swedish progressive trio who have been subtly making an impression on the prog-rock scene over the past decade. Brother Ape actually started out back in the 1980s as Little Orchestra without ever breaking out of the confines of their homeland and it was following the departure of Peter Dahlstrom that the line-up settled around the present day nucleus of Stefan Damicolas (guitars, lead vocals, keyboards), Gunnar Maxen (bass, keyboards, harmony vocals) and Max Bergman (drums, percussion). Within the spectrum of progressive rock, Sweden is a country very much renowned for innovation and diversity and Brother Ape are a name able to hold their own against the likes of Kaipa, Beardfish and A.C.T. to name just three of its many exponents.

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Brother Ape's take on prog is eminently melodic and accessible with keyboards being very much at the forefront of their sound and the guitars used to complement as opposed to lead. They appear equally comfortable with occasional forays into jazz fusion territory such as on the frenetic instrumental workout of the title track in addition to being smooth and emotional on the sweeping big ballad soundscape of 'A Hundred Voices'. Damicolas' vocals possess a gentle warmth that suggests comparisons to names such as Camel and Saga would not be too far wide of the mark and at times ('The Mirror') there is a bubbling undercurrent of pop commercialism that brings to mind Norwegian trio A-ha. The overall vibe is uplifting, upbeat and overwhelmingly positive with plenty of memorable hooks amidst the complex and dynamic arrangements.

In summary then, 'Force Majeure' is very much an eclectic offering from Brother Ape although, for some, there will be perhaps a few too many twists and turns to make it an enticing proposition. With some highly impressive musicianship and intelligently developed song structures, this is twenty first century prog of style and grace.

Dean Pedley

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