The first thing fans of RPWL will want to know is just how similar it is to the band’s output, I imagine. The answer to that is, pleasingly, close enough without being indistinguishable

Looking at the cover of this promo disc, the first solo album from RPWL vocalist / keyboard man Yogi Lang, threw up a couple of interesting points for me before I even got to the music. Firstly, and rather randomly, I found myself unable to decide whether he is in fact wearing a lampshade or waste paper bin on his head. Secondly, and perhaps more interestingly, I found that I had looked at the front cover for days before I actually realised two of the words in the title were upside down and backward – it would appear to demonstrate how the human brain just auto-corrects things that simply don’t make sense. I wish it could do that when I look at the Top Twenty chart these days…

Anyhow, enough of my rambling and on to the album. The first thing fans of RPWL will want to know is just how similar it is to the band’s output, I imagine. The answer to that is, pleasingly, close enough without being indistinguishable. One of the reasons it is pleasing is that, well, it’s nice to see someone happy in his work, and this indicates Yogi is very well satisfied as to how his main band are doing. All too often we see solo albums which go in an entirely contradictory direction in order for the protagonist to get some different musical genre out of his or her system. RPWL fans (who will, naturally be the target audience here) can rest assured that they will not fork over their money to find Yogi giving vent to his frustrated Hungarian Death-Polka muse or anything like that. Is there such a thing as Hungarian Death-Polka, I suddenly find myself wondering? In this internet age, I’ll bet there is…

The chief difference between this album and the work of the ‘mothership’ is largely one of brevity: only two tracks exceed six minutes, with one of those being the superlative opener Move On, which turns its nine minute plus duration into an excellent use of the time. Some of the tracks here are also noticeably more ‘contemporary’, or one might say commercial, than most RPWL material, but not to the point of sacrificing their depth or quality. Many will expect a Pink Floyd influence, but that is certainly not an overriding feature – the most ‘Floydian’ track is probably the sole instrumental here, the very strong Early Morning Light.

One thing which does tie together many of the tracks is a tendency to have them culminating in (or at least featuring) a bravura guitar solo (mostly from Torsten Weber, though RPWL man Kalle Wallner appears on two of the tracks). Some might use that as a criticism, but from my point of view it’s a massive plus, as a climactic guitar solo can rarely be a bad thing, and it gives all of the songs a certain extra grandiose feel, which is very much appreciated in these quarters.

Give this a try, it’s a very strong effort. Oh, and one final thing about the cover: the photo on the back seems to show Yogi bearing an unmistakable resemblance to ‘cigarette smoking man’ from The X Files, if anyone remembers him. The truth is out there…

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