The Time Beneath the Sky

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The Time Beneath the Sky is Quidam's first studio album in four years. After such a gap, one expects change and change there is. After a relatively pop-sounding CD (1998's Sny Aniolów), the group comes back to a more overtly progressive rock sound -- i.e., songs are more complex and include instrumental developments. But melody still reigns like the scepter in the hand of singer Emila Derkowska. The album kicks off with North African overtones in "Letter From the Desert I" and "Still Waiting (Letter From the Desert II)," an unprecedented touch that works well and evokes Jethro Tull's similar leaning on the album Roots to Branches (Jacek Zasada's flute work has something to do with it). Led Zeppelin's classic song "No Quarter" is given a nice rendition, audacious in its arrangement yet very respectful of the original mood. If "New Name" fails to raise interest, "Kozolec (For AgaPe)" stands out as the "Moje Anioly" of this album, a light and bouncy prog-pop song. The second half of the set is devoted to the five-part, 34-minute title suite. Not particularly convincing as a whole, it still features very strong moments in "Credo I" and "You Are." As a performing unit, Quidam keeps on growing, with kudos going to the awe-inspiring Zasada and guitarist Maciek Meller, who throws in a few nice solos despite his reluctance to let go of David Gilmour's influence. More paced and mature than previous efforts (you should decide for yourself if that's good or bad), The Time Beneath the Sky discreetly pushes Quidam's music one level higher.

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