Children Of The Sounds is the 13th album by Swedish progressive rockers Kaipa, led by mastermind and keyboard player Hans Lundin and the eighth since their reincarnation in 2002. For this album, Lundin is joined by guitarist Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry), drummer Morgan Ågren (Karmakanic), bassist Jonas Reingold (TheFlower Kings, Karmakanic), vocalists Patrik Lundström (Ritual) and Aleena Gibson, plus a guest appearance from violinist Elin Rubinsztein.
The influences behind the album come from when Lundin went to see Ågren play a concert in his Mats & Morgan Band, and with long bicycle rides he took in the open landscape around Uppsala in his native Sweden.
That energy and inspiration is palpable throughout Children Of The Sounds, which invokes both an earthy spirit of nature and a natural airiness through the five longish songs.
There's a grandeur to the title track that opens the album, during which lush melodies are fused with some virtuoso playing, particularly from Nilsson, who is in his element delivering fluent, lovely guitar lines throughout. Close vocal harmonies give the whole track a slightly Mediaeval feel.
Lovely synths and dramatic vocals give a positive air to On The Edge Of New Horizons, where both Nilsson's guitars and Lundin's keyboards come to the fore in some cleverly intricate instrumental interplay.
Like A Serpentine is a great pivotal point in the album, its slightly more laid-back feel augmented by a harpsichord which helps it flow along its musical path. Rubinsztein's violin is a huge feature of The Shadowy Sunlight, an atmospheric piece, full of drama, especially an interesting vocal/guitar “question/answer” passage. What's Behind The Field rounds off the album - another huge song that swoops and soars across a musical landscape that embraces folk and classic 70s prog influences.
Full of complexity and joy, Kaipa weave their magic and Nilsson is a revelation throughout, providing some exhilarating moments, which capture the delights of a spring Scandinavian landscape. The one minus for me is Gibson's voice which sounds a little strained in places and lacks the melodic edge which would further elevate the songs.
Otherwise, it's an album which offers almost an hour of pure prog pleasure.
**** Alison Reijman
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