Aaron Brooks - Homunculus

(CD 2018, 47:49, Gentle Art Of Music GAOM060)

The tracks:
  1- Consume(4:00)
  2- You're Just A Picture In A Frame(2:48)
  3- Wake Up The Mountain(3:54)
  4- Everybody Dies(3:17)
  5- Lies(5:38)
  6- Jesus(4:14)
  7- By Your Halo Of The Fork Of Your Tongue(3:04)
  8- Nobody Knows What It's Like To Be Someone Else(4:21)
  9- The Idiot(5:24)
10- Bodega, Bodega(3:00)
11- I'm Afraid(2:53)
12- What Is A Man But An Animal's End(1:59)
13- Digital(3:17)

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Life is all about choices. The band Simeon Soul Charger had the great mission to conquer the whole world with their music. To reinforce this idea the band moved from America to Germany to start conquering Europe. After Europe the rest of the world would follow. All this took place in the period of 2011. After being stationed in Germany the band delivered two more studio albums, these being Harmony Square from 2012 (see review) and A Trick Of Light from 2015 (see review). After this the band disintegrated and in my experience the world had not yet been conquered, or I must have missed something.

In the meantime we are near the end of 2018 and former singer and guitar player of Simeon Soul Charger, Aaron Brooks, started his own band under the name that can't be disguised Aaron Brooks. The album is called Homunculus, what means Male in Latin. Well, is Aaron the Male of this album? This question is reinforced when you look at the album cover, a solid close up of Aaron. When you look into Aaron's eyes you see a lot of emotion. A quick conclusion would be that it does not seem to be in Aaron's person. Nor if we look at his band mates. The band consists of Beni Wiedemann (piano and keyboards), Max Huber (drums), Stefan Rossinger (guitars), Joachim Schwarz (bass), Susi Salomon (violin), Sandra Rieger (violin) and Isabel Schlegel (cello). Besides the band mates there are a lot of guest musicians, to know Kalle Wallner (guitar and bass) and Yogi Lang (keyboards) of RPWL, Hansi Enzensperger (keyboards), Peter Savee (banjo) and Karl Muskini (trombone). Lang and Wallner are no strangers in the prog scene and earned their stripes. It makes me curious what Aaron sounds like.

The album consists of 13 songs, varying from 1.59 minutes to 5.24 minutes, not really lengths that we are used to in the world of progressive rock. And to start with the clue, Aaron Brooks does not play prog at all. But no, do not stop reading. Just continue reading is my advice. With his beautiful voice, Aaron welcomes you in his music that occasionally feels psychedelic, sometimes singer songwriter-like and sometimes has some features of the early Pink Floyd period. When the end of the song Wake Up The Mountain is coming, you only want it to continue for a long period, you are just not ready for it to be over. The song Jesus has an intro in the James Bond style, it grabs you and is exciting. Nobody Knows What It's Like To Be Someone Else is a real philosophical title and the song has a lovely guitar solo. In some songs the strings have a true added value, like in The Idiot but also in Bodega Bodega in which you are caught and dragged into the rhythm, tremendous. These are just a few of the striking things that make me aware of this beautiful music.

All-in all I can say this is a fine record that gives me a smile on my face now and then. I want to bet that Aaron might conquer the world with this album, he is ready for it!!

**** Michel Stolk (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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