[Review] Reflection Club – Still Thick As A Brick

Reflection Club is a Folk Prog band born in Germany in 2017 from an idea of multi-instrumentalist Lutz Meinert who, with the participation of international guests, immediately started recording the debut album. Entitled “Still Thick As A brick,” this concept wants to be a tribute to the British masterpiece by Jethro Tull, masters in blending Folk and Progressive sounds. Reflection Club also incorporates also elements of Jazz and modern sounds, proposing this work divided into 11 tracks, released for Madvedge Records on March 3, 2021. Like its 1972 predecessor, this record also features elaborate songs with a complex structure, resulting pleasant and well built. The album opens with “Part 1: Prelude,” a short 2 minute introductory piece featuring pompous orchestral sounds and classical sounds. The presence of the organ, the flute and at the end of the rhythmic session immediately catapult us into the Prog atmospheres of the album. “Part 2: Time Out” begins with a soft acoustic guitar and a vocal that is sometimes reminiscent of the voice of Ian Anderson. With the passage of the piece the other instruments enter, giving life to delicate, markedly Folk, pleasant and enveloping sounds. The intensity increases with the passing of the minutes, as do the Progressive traits that intertwine with those of traditional instruments, above all flute. Being a concept, the tracks are all connected to each other, and here is “Part 3: Years on the Fast Track” which starts where the previous theme ends. Drum and organ markedly open this section markedly Prog, with punchy bass lines and fine electric guitar inserts. The phrasing between keyboards and guitar catapult us to the 70s, with virtuous ideas to which the flute is added in the second part. A nice passage for lovers of retro sounds, sounds difficult to find in modern albums, ending with a vocal verse that introduces us to the next song. “Part 4: Rellington Town” is the longest part of the album, where we find at the opening sounds closer to Folk Prog, with acoustic guitar, keyboards and a warm and expressive vocal. Another strong point is certainly the amount of instruments available to the band, which give the possibility to use a wide range of sounds. The atmospheres are at times oriental in the first part, and then give space to an instrumental section with keyboards and winds in evidence. In the final with the entry of the drum, the intensity increases and the vocal returns which leads us to the end with pleasant inserts of electric guitar. “Part 5: The Club of Hopeful Pinions” continues on atmospheres steeped in Folk, with a more marked presence of Prog sounds, where the inspiration of Tull is strong. The tempo changes in this section are a winning weapon, and the flute and guitar and electric inserts take the sound to another level. The instrumental section gives us a well-made flute solo, and then returns to the initial theme with the vocals and guides us to the finale. We are about halfway through the album with “Part 6: The Foray of the Sharks” featuring a deep double bass, flute melodies and intertwining keyboards. With the entry of the vocal the piece evolves with positive melodies, recalling the more rhythmic pieces of their predecessors, from which they take inspiration, always adding personal and original elements. Even songs like this are not a copy, but they are inspired by the 70s and by Jethro Tull, the instrumental section is good, intense and of strong impact, with precise tempo changes and notable solo parts with different instruments involved. “Part 7: Sentimental Depreciation” is characterized by a more emotional, soft and delicate atmosphere with very well articulated guitar arpeggios and symphonic parts. The second part of the piece presents a background with violins and piano and then evolves with an intricate instrumental section with jazzed features. Closes an electric guitar solo insert that maintains the most delicate character, guiding us to the closure. With the double bass and the piano joining the two parts, “Part 8: Nervesoothers” begins, which presents an intricate structure and a particular rhythm. Good vocals and bass lines are load-bearing, one of the shorter parts of the album, but still very intense and pleasantly developed with virtuous passages. “Part 9: The Great Dance Around the Golden Calf” begins with the vocals and the horns and then changes abruptly with drum rolls and harder sounds. The structure is very engaging which always keeps the listener’s concentration high and by increasing the intensity offers a valuable flute solo. The guitar ending opens the way to the following “Part 10: Bedlam” which keeps the intensity high, with the addition of the choral parts. The flute is again the protagonist and together with the keyboards it guides the melodies, if you close your eyes it will seem to be in the 70s. The guitar is added, offering together with the other instruments an instrumental section where the phrasing is well developed, as well as the tempo changes. In the second part the vocal returns and the song is transformed into a pleasant Prog ride where the sounds are those of quality Folk Prog. We have come to the final song “Part 11: Look Across the Sea” which initially softens the tones after the intense previous Prog outburst. With a mixture of traditional instruments and sounds that soon join those of Rock, a symphonic section comes to life with a good guitar solo, intense and emotional. The vocal part almost seems to want to say hello, indeed I assure you that it will only be a goodbye, as I am convinced that this record will certainly be appreciated and therefore listened to several times. The references to Jethro Tull are not only in the title of the disc, but also in the musical proposal, which is however of a high level. The sung parts are very reminiscent of Ian Anderson’s voice, as well as some musical passages. The Reflection Club have managed to propose a tribute to the 1972 masterpiece, without being banal, the compositional and executive technique allow the band to propose a quality album, blending Folk elements with Prog. A listening recommended for lovers of retro sounds, reinterpreted in a modern way, a pleasant, flowing album with intense moments, instrumental and sung parts that follow one another involving you in listening.

Tracklist

01. Part 1: Prelude (2:00)
02. Part 2: Time Out (4:03)
03. Part 3: Years on the Fast Track (3:31)
04. Part 4: Rellington Town (6:17)
05. Part 5: The Club of Hopeful Pinions (3:55)
06. Part 6: The Foray of the Sharks (5:37)
07. Part 7: Sentimental Depreciation (5:19)
8. Part 8: Nervesoothers (3:10)
09. Part 9: The Great Dance Around the Golden Calf (3:35)
10. Part 10: Bedlam (5:48)
11. Part 11: Look Across the Sea (4:24)

Lineup

Nils Conrad / Electric Guitar
Paul Forrest / Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Flute (2)
Ulla Harmuth / Flute (1,3-11)
Lutz Meinert / Drums, Percussion, Organ, Piano, Harpsichord, Electric & Double Bass, Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Backing Vocals

With
The Rellington Resort Orchestra / Strings
Vanessa Wiltshire / Solo Violin (7,10)
The Little Indian Restaurant Ensemble / Sitar, Percussion
The Bagpipe Club Willy Scotty / Bagpipes, Whistles
Members Of The Soccer Club FC Rellington / Shouts, Zany Sounds

Reflection Club |Bandcamp|Facebook Page|YouTube Channel|

Madvedge Records |Official Website|Twitter|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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