Nine Stones Close -
Traces - 10th Anniversary Version

(Vinyl 2020, 43:46, Freia Music)

The tracks:
  1- Reality Check(4:52)
  2- Threads(10:24)
  3- Falling To Pieces(6:13)
  4- Traces(7:19)
  5- Thicker Than Water(14:49)

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The release of this 10th anniversary version gave me a good reason to re-listen the original album of Nine Stone Close once again. Usually my albums could be in the attic, guest bedroom or piled up nearby my computer, but it turns out Traces never went far from my CD player in our living room. Traces turns out to be one of those albums that have had their regularly spins over the past ten years. Now in 2020 after a lot of requests, (because the album went out of print a long time ago), main man Adrian Jones decided to re-release Traces as a vinyl edition. Adrian asked his friend Paul van Zeeland to remix and remaster the album up to the modern standards.

The fun part starts when I start listening to the original version of Traces (2010, see review) and afterwards to the 10th anniversary version, finding out the differences between the two albums. Musically both versions are the same, no additional overdubs or re-recorded parts can be found, but it is all in the new mix that makes the difference. I think the overall sound has become more pronounced and clearer. Marc Atkinson's vocals are one of my favourites and in the new mix, his smooth sound still stands out. But, it is the instrumental parts that have gained so much, the rhythm section are more noticeable and the layers of keyboards are perfectly in balance. Finally, the guitar parts have found a perfect spot in the mix, never too prominent, but clearer and more defined as before.

For the compositions itself, my initial review (see above) still stands, the songs remain solid and interesting as they were ten years ago and the new mix just makes things clearer. Traces is still as good as it was ten years ago, a great addition for the vinyl collectors.

****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Dave Smith)

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