Armonite sounds like a new mineral or something and not a prog band. The band have all of the elements of a good prog band. Great musicianship, bassist Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) and solid production from Paul Reeve. What makes Armonite different is their use of the violin as lead instrument. Think Eddie Jobson of UK rather than Robbie Steinhardt of Kansas.
There is no doubting the music skill of keyboardist Paolo Fosso and violinist Jacopo Bigi. They try to merge a very electronic sound with an more organic sound. While many people will love this, I am not keen on it. I’d rather they picked one or the other than veer from one to the other within the song.
I don’t care for the overall drum sound. At times, it’s electronic drums and other times it sounds like drummer Jasper Barendregt is hitting a piece of cardboard. Other times, the drums sound great. It’s confusing. The same can be said for each instrument. The violin at times sounds incredibly sterile. Add in the little “beeps” and “bloops” that the keys make, I wind up getting put off by it.
Yet the music itself, compositionally, is great. The production often pushes each instrument out so wide in the mix that they are in one ear or the other and don’t always sound a part of the track. Yet when I hear something as pretty as “Le temps qui fait ta rose,” I find myself wishing it all sounded as wonderful as this track. But even here, the piano is way too far to the left that you feel deaf in your right ear.
“The Sun is New Each Day” is a fun album but just too synthetic for the sake of it. “Insert Coin” has the sounds of video games. It’s actually a fair representation of the album. Musically challenging and interesting but undermined by the “bells and whistles.” I have no doubt that people will enjoy this as just a fun album. For me, it was a bit too distracting for the wrong reasons and lacked the depth I prefer.
1. Suitcase War
2. Connect Four
3. ‘G’ as in Gears
5. Slippery Slope
7. Die Grauen Herren
8. Le temps qui fait ta rose
9. Insert Coin