JONAS LINDBERG & THE OTHER SIDE – Pathfinder
(Mode Music - 2016)
Fresh from that country crammed with chords and melody - also known as Sweden - comes prog veteran Jonas Lindberg and his six-piece machine.
Knocking up some vibrations with his debut EP a few years earlier, this eight-piece musical beast of a debut appears very much ready to justify the wait. ‘Square One' leads off with a very Police-esque feel and with a full sized chorus following all verses, it seems there may be an easy ride ahead for more cautious listeners. ‘Lost's sweeping chorus sees singer Jonas Sundqvist's circling melody wash over the pebbles and steal away the shoreline behind, whereas 'Piece of Mind', the first of the album's two obligatory nine-minute-plus entries, (and also my personal favourite of the disc) sees a strong shared performance from both him and female co-vocalist, Jenny Sandgren in turn.
The title track kicks in through a silent verse, attacking with a slightly alternative-flavoured chorus, and some sharp instrumentation, before the leviathan-sized hook belonging to ‘Leaving The World Behind' take things to a further level, with occasional folky sprinkle - a fantastic listen for those frosty Sunday afternoons stuck at home. We hear the same good work kept up through 'On The Horizon' and instrumental 'Zenith' wherein bass/keyboard maestro Mr Lindberg himself fires his own musical pyrotechnics high up, and is intersected by some impressive metal turns from guitarist, Calle Stalenbring.
Closing epic ‘CloserTo The Sun' does the customary turn of totting up what the preceding hour has been all about - dynamic, masterly performance and in an unashamedly Petrucci way from Messrs Stalenbring and Thelin while the magnificent Mr L layers his own large creamy slice of class straight down behind. Jonas Lindberg's name may not be a household one across the mainstream music scene but to those who appreciate a huge hour and five minutes of the finest melodic prog made by Scandinavian hands, yet seasoned with British flavour, he should by rights be seen as a musical deity.
An absolutely accomplished piece of playing, writing and performance that should see the genre pushed out of its confines - what this one will sound like live is too much to anticipate.
By Dave Attrill
COMPULSORY IF YOU LIKE: Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, Flower Kings & Vanden Plas.