[Review] Major Parkinson – Valesa – Chapter I: Velvet Prison

Major Parkinson are a Norwegian band that offers a Progressive Rock genre without barriers or stylistic limitations that ranges and explores different sounds. The septet released their fifth full-length “Valesa – Chapter I: Velvet Prison” on October 07, 2022 via Apollon Records containing 17 tracks. The album’s theme deals with the political backdrops of the 1980s as they tap into the Zeitgeist of a period in human hisroty that proved tantamount in shaping our world. It is a listening experience that ranges and combines different genres and styles, between retro sounds steeped in synths and the band’s personal touch that is adept at pushing boundaries. A band that succeeds in this record release in offering 17 very fresh tracks with a modern touch, with very intense sung parts that intertwine male and female voices. Electronic sounds that blend well with the more traditional sounds of Rock and Prog, with forays into Pop. The tracklist is fluid and alternates longer tracks with interludes, instrumental parts with other sung parts where the vocals dynamically interpret the lyrics. The use of electronic sounds differentiates this work and makes it modern and original, with forays into 80s music and Synthpop in particular. Both because of its long duration and the stylistic innovation proposed by the band, this album requires several listens before its essence can be grasped. The most classic sounds of Prog are re-interpreted in a different, modern and avant-garde key with a futuristic touch. The different influences and styles proposed by the band bring a breath of fresh air, while displaying retro influences, skilfully reworked in a modern key. The vocals are very warm and expressive, the rhythm sections avant-garde, often using electronic sounds as well as keyboards. A challenging listen, but interesting for lovers of new sounds and stylistic evolutions of music, pleasantly departing from the classics and creating their own personal style without genre barriers.

Tracklist

1. Goodbye Blue Monday (1:12)
2. Behind the Next Door (4:32)
3. Saturday Night (4:07)
4. Ride in the Whirlwind (1:42)
5. Live Forever (7:16)
6. Sadlands (1:15)
7. Intermezzo (2:16)
8. Jonah (6:35)
9. Velvet Moon (2:01)
10. Irina Margareta (5:08)
11. The House (3:27)
12. The Room (4:43)
13. Posh-Apocalypse (2:07)
14. MOMA (2:16)
15. Lemon Symphony (1:59)
16. Fantasia Me Now! (6:57)
17. Heroes (2:43)

Lineup

Jon Ivar Kollbotn / Lead Vocals, Synths (1,9,16,17), Piano (1,6), Windom Earle Flute (10)
Sondre Skollevoll / Guitars (2,5,8,10-12,14,16), Backing Vocals (5)
Øystein Bech-Eriksen / Guitars (2), Bucuresti Glass Harp (10), Whoaphone (15)
Lars Christian Bjørknes / Synths, Piano, Backing Vocals (3,5,16), Co-Lead Vocals (15)
Peri Winkle (Claudia Cox) / Violins (2,5,8,12,16), Co-Lead Vocals (3,10,11,14,16,17)
Eivind Gammersvik / Bass (2,8,12), Synths (3,10,15-17), Percussion (3,10), Guitars (5), Organ (8), Blackboard Yubi (14)
Sondre Veland / Drums (2,3,5,8,11,12,14,16), Percussion (3,16)

With:
Jens Erik Aasmundseth
/ C64 Keyboard Percussion (3,16)
Carmen Bóveda / Cello (5,8)
Linn Frøkedal / Co-Lead Vocals (5,12)
Anders Bjelland / Guitars (5), Downtown Meltdown (12)
Bjarne Tresnes Sørensen / Harmonica (6)
Kadeem Nichols / Tenor, Vocals Contractor, Choir Engineer (8)
Porcha Clay, Naarai Jacobs / Sopranos (8)
Megan Parker, Ashly Williams / Altos (8)
Eric Lynn, Erik Brooks / Tenors (8)
Thea Meidell Sjule, Vilja Kjersheim, Anja Moe / Choir (10,15)
William Grøv Skramsett / Trumpet (16)

Major Parkinson |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Apollon Records |Official Website|Bandcamp|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|Spotify|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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