This is a tough album to review. Not because it’s not my taste or that it isn’t good, but this is an album that demands your full attention and needs quite a few spins. There’s a lot happening in the music, even though most of the music is mostly on the calm and serene side.
Nine Stones Close started as a solo project, and Adrian Jones has surrounded himself with talented musicians over the years, making Leaves the fourth studio album of this band. The beautiful artwork is done by Antonio Seijas who also makes artwork for Marillion and Gazpacho, but I would not compare Nine Stones Close’s music to those two bands. I would call it ‘heavy structured music’, leaning towards post rock, grunge and psychedelic music at some moments. The album contains five tracks, although it is almost one hour long. I really had to get used of Adrian ‘Aio’ O’Shaughnessy’s vocals. This is a total different singer than Marc Atkinson, who did the vocals of Nine Stones Close’s previous album One Eye On The Sunrise.
First track Complicated starts very atmospheric with soundscapes, and is with five minutes the shortest track on the album. This song has a continuous grungy feel because of the guitar riffs. Goldfish also has a very atmospheric and slow intro. The guitars that set in just before the two minute mark drags the track into a new chapter and makes it heavier. The drums sound very catchy and give it extra power. The mid-section contains beautiful guitar, piano and mellotron parts. After ten minutes the powerful guitars and drums return, and Aio’s vocal power fits perfectly.
Do I hear some Oceansize influences in the track Lie? It starts more up tempo than the other ones, and there’s even an experimental twist in it. You really have to keep your attention during this one. The song gets a certain twist halfway, and slightly reminds me of something Porcupine Tree could have done, although the drums towards the end sound a bit too eager in my opinion. Spoils is the longest track on the album, and is over sixteen minutes long. It starts calm, but becomes very heavy after a couple of minutes. The grunge/stoner guitar riffs and haunting sounds lift this song up. Aio’s emotion is his voice carries you into the overall picture of a certain dreary atmosphere. The more serene mid-section is followed up by a heavy part, containing a splendid guitar solo. The outro is very constructive and makes you head bang along. Title track Leaves is the seal on this album. This mesmerizing, light psychedelic song makes you sway along with the rhythm, and the outro contains a lovely piano solo.
Please, give this album quite a lot of spins before you’re going to give your opinion about it, as I mentioned earlier in this review. Let this music seize you and never let you go.
****+ Iris Hidding
- Complicated (5:00)
- Goldfish (12:47)
- Lie (9:58)
- Spoils (16:35)
- Leaves (13:45)
You can listen to the track Leaves here:
You can listen to the track Complicated here:
You can watch the interview I had with Adrian Jones in June 2016 here:
You can also read my review on the website of House of Prog:
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