There are times when an album doesn’t line up with my brain at the time I am listening to it. I’ll set it aside and hopefully I remember to revisit it. Such was the case of Turning Virtue’s “A Temporary Human Experience.” When I went to review it, I just didn’t find it to be what I was expecting. This is not the album’s fault. It’s mine. So I finally decided to get it out and let it be whatever it wanted.
While “A Temporary Human Experience” is certainly poppy, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, David Karczewski and the boys can definitely write a hooky song. Sometimes it really works for me like on the ballad “Dreamin'” or on the one/two punch opening tracks “Transcend” and “These Things.” Elsewhere, the doomy “Theody” almost seems like a different band while “Fall In Love With The World” was a bit of an average bar band song.
Mark Zonder is guesting on drums. This is important for me to mention because I doubt you’d know it was him playing. I can’t fault the band for having Zonder reign in his playing, but if it was my money, he would be Zondering all over the place. He peaks out a LITTLE on “What’s True.” The closing 12-minute opus “Salty Tears” has some trademark Zonder cymbal work which really is nice to hear along with some very tasty fills. The track is easily the “most prog” but it’s still very much within what Turning Virtue are about. But if you rent a Ferrari, wouldn’t you drive fast a little just to see what it’s like? It does prove that Zonder will play what he is told.
This isn’t about how many notes, it’s about the right notes. Turning Virtue have a chance to be an excellent modern prog band and “A Temporary Human Experience” is a step toward that goal. The album is definitely something fans who like (older) Porcupine Tree or The Pineapple Thief should check out.
2. These Things
3. Box of Disappointment
5. Fall in Love with the World
8. What’s True
9. Salty Tears