The 7th Dew is, asymmetrically, the 6th release from this quintet of experienced Polish musicians from Krakow, following on from 2019s Deep Space Eight (see review), plus numerous side and solo projects which have kept the band busy during these last troubled years. This time around Sabina Godula-Zając steps in behind the microphone and the line-up is bolstered by Jacek Szczepaniak who takes a lead guitar role on the title track. All pieces are composed by founding member and keyboard player Krzysztof Lepiarczyk fresh from his own enjoyable solo outing.
The whole affair announces itself with a fanfare of racing riffing, although those who know Loonypark will be aware that the brakes can come on quite suddenly. The Earth which opens is typical of what you can expect. High flying moments of virtuosity interspersed with a brand of crossover light rock and unassuming power ballads with pleasing sing-along festival friendly choruses. Whether the balance is quite right is a matter for taste. While prog purists will likely complain that their share is more like the currants scattered around the teacake, it is still fair to say that there are plenty of moments to savour when things really take flight driven by Piotr Grodecki's coruscating guitar work. The same tricks are repeated in the title track, heavy riffs, slow it down, a spoken word section (yawn) and a binding guitar solo. In Sabina Godula-Zając we have another powerful female vocalist who is perfectly suited to the delivery of expansive, melodic rock. In Virtuality I thought the band had found the essence a really good single which would grace any drivetime show, but, like much in this album, it lost its way and couldn't resist some tedious posturing. It's the longest song of the collection, but seemed longer when an edited version could have taken the roof off most venues. The Tree Of Life is pleasant if lightweight with a trite pop chorus that will send most prog fans to the bar. Having said which, Loonypark are probably at their best keeping it straightforward and getting down and dirty. They are clearly having a blast on Toxic Unity with its funky grinding guitar work - although even here they can't help themselves from noodling around with some changes of pace which distract rather than enhance.
There is much to admire in this collection and I enjoyed the performances of all the musicians and they get extra bonus points for keeping things to a disciplined and well structured length. Unusually for a prog critic, I actually felt that they would benefit from keeping some of the songs to a simpler structure, there are a lot of good ideas which get lost somewhere in the constant meddling and harsh transitions which tend to get a bit irritating. Nonetheless, I think most prog fans will complain that there is too much lightweight filler between the moment of real magic.
*** Andrew Cottrell
Where to buy?
All Rights Reserved Background Magazine 2021