Strong material serves as a catalyst for this band’s second album in ten years. Founded by guitarist Stever Rothery of the progressive-rock band Marillion, singer Hannah Stobart looms as the primary voice via her angelic, melodic, and at times, folk-pop delivery. Nonetheless, it’s an evocative outing, that was composed and recorded across continents. The program boasts a lyrically-rich acoustic-electric format, spanning airy and textural underpinnings. And Rothery lays out a broad musical plane with his guitar, bass and keys overlays in alignment with drummer Paul Craddick’s steady backbeats.
The band intersperses grace and power with windblown motifs and blithe themes, straddling commercially viable song-forms, progressive-rock and new wave pop. Stobart incites the listeners’ imagination with endearing hooks, subtle phrasings amid deeply personal and quaintly rendered vocalizations. Moreover, Rothery switches between acoustic and electric guitars while providing shade and keys-based treatments.
On the tender ballad "Soldier," Rothery’s gentle voicings and dark keys, help generate a sense of lament or introspection to complement Stobart’s resonating vocals. Two live bonus tracks "Fly" and "Ostara" offer a contrast to the studio versions and are perhaps the two most memorable pieces on this captivating album, designed with rangy chord clusters and topped off with a distinct edge on occasion. Simply put, it’s a charming and highly-entertaining venture that induces repeated listens.