Picture You (Vinyl)

SKU: PTKF2111-1
Label:
Partisan
Category:
Psychedelic
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Third album from this Swedish ensemble that features Reine Fiske as a member.  It has a soft and gentle vibe that touches on psych, folk, and pop with undercurrents of prog creeping in (thanks to Reine).  Beautiful stuff.

"On Picture You, The Amazing incorporates traces of psychedelic rock, ’60s pop, and even twee, mostly in the soft-spoken, accented vocals of lead singer Christoffer Gunrup. If that all sounds like chaos, it isn’t. The Amazing has a plan, and they’re rewarded for following it to its furthest conclusion.

Almost every track on the band’s third album finds itself on the far side of the five-minute mark, and that’s because no one in The Amazing is in any kind of rush. Their ability to combine all of the aforementioned disparate elements not only into one album but into one song is jaw-dropping.

Even though Gunrup rejects terms like “prog” for his band’s work, that doesn’t mean they don’t apply. The seven-and-a-half-minute “Fryshusfunk” screeches over from hazy summer nap music into something much more complex and challenging in a moment of disruption that’s unparalleled throughout the rest of Picture You. The song is as easy to slip into as a dream, but once you’re inside it’s nearly impossible to extract yourself.

The nine-minute title track forms the record’s gooey center, shimmering and changing shape from an airy hymn to lush, free-form instrumentation. The song’s ethereal qualities belie its muscle; about halfway in, the tone shifts to a faster pace, propelled by a swift, driving beat. It’s a song that unfolds as it goes, demanding that you spend more time with it only because it’s a hard piece of music to map after only a few listens.

The languid, easy “Circles” and “Safe Island”, the former sliding into the latter, create a kind of tropical hurricane eye in the album’s first half, invoking a high-energy euphoria that could just as easily wash over listeners or whip them into a frenzy. This is big music, meant to be played over a quality sound system or, even better, live; tinny laptop speakers can’t possibly do it justice.

Maybe due to the nature of its formation — the band’s lineup features members of Swedish-language bands Dungen and Granada — the band has never struggled to define its sound like other nascent bands do. It sprung forth fully formed, like Athena from Zeus’ forehead: powerful, lovely, hard to wrap your mind around sometimes, but all the more intriguing because of it." - Consequence Of Sound

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Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.Secrets Of Angels is the band’s first studio album with a new line-up, and it’s a testament to Jones’ deep understanding of the music he’s making that the new look Karnataka are so evidently a force to be reckoned with. The renewed emergy and sense of purposes within the band is exemplified by opener ‘Road To Cairo’, which fuses Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with Jones’ fine ear for an anthemic chorus. Powered along by a relentless, powerful rhythm, it fair leaps out of the speakers, a sharp contrast with previous albums that tended to open far more gently. Incredibly, this energy level is maintained throughout the next four tracks with barely any let-up: ‘Because Of You’ opens as if it will be a gothic ballad, but soon delivers huge power chords, a dynamite vocal from vocalist Hayley Griffiths, making her first appearance – hopefully the first of many – on one of the band’s studio albums, and one of guitarist Enrico Pinna’s most outré solos to date, a cascading wail of rage and frustration that will pin you to the nearest wall. ‘Poison Ivy’ goes straight for the jugular, its chanted verses and soaring chorus underpinned by a crunching riff and elaborate orchestrations, a pattern followed by the instantly addictive ‘Forbidden Dreams’, a sprightly rocker with a hugely memorable chorus that is certain to become a sing-along favourite for fans.The album continues with ‘Borderline’, a track with two faces: after opening with another suitably gothic flourish, all wind and a tolling church bell, it reveals itself as a chugging riff-based rocker, with a grimly accusatory lyric; however, the mood is utterly transformed by the distinctly pop chorus. 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In many ways, it’s the ultimate distillation of what the new-look Karnataka are all about: we have folky, Celtic sections featuring guest appearances from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley; delicate balladry; a pounding symphonic metal interlude, and some outright prog courtesy of penultimate section ‘In The Name Of God’, which opens like Marillion in their pomp and steadily dials up the intensity. The effect is almost total sensory overload, and it will likely take many listens to unlock all the detail, musically and lyrically. Any piece of this length has to end strongly, and happily Karnataka have saved their ace in the hole for the dying moments of the album, as everyone pulls out all the stops for the grand finale. Pinna delivers one of his most devastating solos; Donockley serves up a Uillean pipe solo to die for, and the rhythm section get stuck in as Cagri and the assembled string section provide a backdrop of dizzying beauty for Griffiths to deliver possibly her finest vocal to date. It’s unspeakably moving, a beautiful lament for the losers on the battlefields of life and love that will quite likely require more than one handkerchief.It feels wrong to call current vocalist Hayley Griffiths the “new vocalist”, since she’s been touring with the band since very early in 2012. With a background in large musical productions (Irish dance spectaculars Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance both feature in her quite extensive CV), fronting a rock band was something completely new for Griffiths, and it isn’t perhaps surprising that the first batch of dates she undertook with the band – where the live release New Light was recorded – saw her nailing the demanding vocal parts without breaking a sweat, but looking slightly self-conscious on stage. As anyone who has seen the band recently will attest, any inhibitions that Griffiths may once have had on stage are long since gone, and that confidence has found its way onto the album, where she delivers a flawless, powerful performance. From fiery rock vocals to the lofty, operatic extreme of her range, Griffiths is perfectly on point throughout, as at home with riff-based rockers like ‘Road to Cairo’ and ‘Poison Ivy’ as she is with the gothic balladry of ‘Fairytale Lies’. It’s a bravura showcase for a highly gifted performer, and it’s practically impossible to come away from hearing her in action here not having reached the conclusion that she is the perfect foil for the band. Powerfully charismatic, hugely versatile and technically magnificent, her vocals on the closing title track in particular shame many better known female rock vocalists.Çağrı Tozluoğlu, on keys, is a similarly impressive recruit. Eschewing the more traditional progressive rock influences of previous keysman Gonzalo Carrera, Tozluoğlu brings a welcome modernity to the band. His soloing is sparsely used, but when it does appear (as on ‘Poison Ivy’), it’s wonderfully fluid. Where Tozluoğlu excels is in his shaping of mood and his orchestrations: his epic approach to arrangement means that this is the biggest-sounding Karnataka album to date. 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  • The band's second album, originally released on Brain in 1973, is another stone cold killer. You have to love this - a disc filled with long jamming tracks of frenetic sax, guitar and organ soloing. The 14 minute "Trash Man" picks up speed as it moves through the track and totally blasts off with undercurrents of Santana-esque percussion driving it along. Monster stuff long over due. Now it comes to us with great sound, mastered from the original master tapes by long time engineer Jorg Scheuermann.  Highly recommended. Essential listening.
    $27.00
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