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Heliopolis - 'City Of The Sun' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/5c/e4/6e/heliopolis-city-of-the-sun-22-1424724684.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 23, 2015    
 
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'City Of The Sun' is a rare thing, capable of twisting the Prog of the 1970s and 1980s into that of the 2000s.

Any band featuring members who can count time in Mars Hollow, Tin Jenn or Rocket Scientists on their CV have to be worth a whirl, don't they? Damn right they do... and Heliopolis, who can lay claim that bold statement, prove it true. So often debut albums from line-ups which promise much fall flat but not 'City Of The Sun', for this really is an album pulling not only from the previous experiences of its members, but also from the best of what Prog has offered up since the 1970s.

Everyone from Yes to Spock's Beard, Mars Hollow to IQ, Genesis to Transatlantic is brought into focus, yet even though Michael Matier's guitar tone can lean heavily on Steve Howe for inspiration, the likenesses never seem overpowering. Vocalist Scott Jones somehow sits neatly between the fragility of Jon Anderson and the bullishness of Geddy Lee, his efforts pushing songs which otherwise might appear over-technical into accessible mode; a real coup for a band so willing and capable to take you on the Prog merry go round. 'Take A Moment' combines fragility to strength, a curious early Marillion-like melody climbing onto a Yes vibe to revel in sumptuous musical tradeoffs, drums pounding and popping, as keyboards build and soar across an underpinning of roaming bass.

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The short 'Mr. Wishbone' unearths a curious instrumental which in places seems to bark like a dog and in others bloop and bleep like a 1970s experimental Moog presentation. However as riffs clash over its head, a threatening rush suddenly takes over. It's an odd little interlude, but on an album which cleverly remains a short blast of five songs and forty something minutes, it makes for a pleasant stop off point from the more rampant excursions. 'Elegy' adds an almost Kansas lightness to proceedings, while 'Love And Inspiration' calms everything down for this album's classy conclusion.

'City Of The Sun' is a rare thing, capable of twisting the Prog of the 1970s and 1980s into that of the 2000s. That it does so with the caressing conviction revealed here suggests that we may be looking at one of the stalwarts of the scene for the late 2010s.

Steven Reid

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