The Yearning

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The Yearning, Chilean band Aisles' first calling card, is a convincing disc of South American-flavored neo-progressive rock. Nothing gets reinvented, but the lads (three out of five bearing the surname Vergara) clearly know what they are doing. The group's first strength resides in lead singer Sebastián Vergara, who possesses a charming voice and uses it appropriately. His range and power are not wowing, but his sense of measure is a lesson in efficiency for all those prog singers belting it out like they were Céline Dion. Another nice feature is the dual guitars of Germán Vergara and Rodrigo Sepulveda, who often lock their axes in superimposed melody mode. As for the presence of two keyboardists, it is generally a sign of pompousness, but not in this particular case: keys remain rather discreet, supportive in song-based sections, tasteful in instrumental passages. Even though some comparisons with Cast are inevitable (if only because the Mexican band is Latin America's biggest prog rock export), Aisles seem to naturally eschew the bombast of their elders. Even small epics like "The Wharf That Holds His Vessel" (11 minutes) and "Grey" (17 minutes) are unusually discreet, unfolding their themes with welcome delicateness. These longer tracks are not always successful at tying their many pieces together, but they show promise. On the other hand, some of the group's shorter songs are very nicely tailored, "Clouds Motion" and the soft-spoken "The Scarce Light Birth" deserving a special mention. Some prog rock fans might find The Yearning a bit too light, and its production sounds slightly sterile, but it reveals strong songwriting skills. This album was released on the Chilean label Mylodon and picked up for international distribution by Musea. All lyrics are in English and sung comprehensibly (another plus).

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