Rhys Marsh -
October After All

(2019 CD, 45:07, Karisma Records KAR180CD)

The tracks:
  1- River(3:51)
  2- Long Way Back(3:38)
  3- Golden Lullabies(5:28)
  4- Ride The New Wave(5:06)
  5- The Butterflies(4:23)
  6- Let It Be Known!(3:21)
  7- One Hundred Memories(3:59)
  8- The Summer Days(4:47)
  9- '22'(3:33)
10- It Will Be) October After All(7:01)

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Rhys Marsh is a singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who was born in England, but moved to Trondheim, Norway where he lives. He has been involved in a couple of bands and projects, including Opium Cartel, Ignore, Okasa, Unit and Kaukasus and had his own (backing) band, The Autumn Ghost with which he recorded his first couple of solo albums. I am particularly fond of the 2012 effort The Blue Hour (see review). Since 2014's Sentiment (another highlight!), Rhys is credited as a solo artist.

Now here is his latest effort, October After All on which Rhys handles most of the instrumental duties, On this he is assisted by Arve Henriksen on trumpet and Kåre Kolve on saxophone, as well as backing vocals by Rohey, Silje Leirvik, Anders Bjermeland and Tim Bowness.

When Rhys was making the CD, he intended to create an album with 22 songs (there is a song titled 22 on the disc), but the actual CD only contains ten pieces. You can download the remaining 12 songs from the Karisma website for free.

Musically, there are clear parallels to No-Man, because of the atmospheric sound and the melancholic vocals with mild traces of jazz through the use of wind instruments. On the other side of the spectrum there is also a leaning towards folky alternative rock.

Picking out some stand out pieces, I would like to mention Golden Lullabies with moody synths and a delicious duet with Silje Leirvik, which reminds me strongly of White Willow. There is some cool use of trumpet and saxophone in this piece.

Ride The New Wave brings threatening guitars opposing the synths and Mellotron as a whole evoking links to King Crimson. Also noteworthy is Let It Be Known with some soaring (slide) guitars.

My clear favourite however is the closing track (and quasi title track). This is the longest track of the album and a very dreamy piece.

Although the new disc cannot excite me as much as The Blue Hour and Sentiment did, as a whole this is a fine melancholic singer/songwriter-prog album for people who love No-Man, Tim Bowness, the more song-based side of White Willow, or obviously the previous albums by Rhys Marsh!

***+ Carsten Busch (edited by Dave Smith)

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