Album: In a Perfect World
Genre: Progressive Rock
In my review of the last Karmakanic album, Who’s the Boss in the Factory, I eluded to the band’s ability to distinguish themselves from others in the genre by their ability to cut some of the length and airy sections of their music creating more coherent and upbeat songs. The band continued this trend and perhaps improved it on their latest outing, In a Perfect World.
The album starts in a bold fashion, starting with a nearly 15 minute piece which will make any fan of the band immediately draw connections to “Send a Message From the Heart” from the band’s last album. Though the songs are not similar I was surprised that “1969” managed to be nearly as good as “Heart” was. After the initial track the rest of the songs manage to stay under 10 minutes, an accomplishment for composer Jonas Reingold who is best known for his work with The Flower Kings and their epic laced albums. After a rockin’ “Turn it Up” we come to one of my favorites from the album, “The World is Caving In”. It starts mellow with only piano and vocals before the guitar kicks in and takes over. For the remainder of the song guitar, keyboards and piano all take turns leading the track and all do a fine job in adding their own spice to it. Eventually the song builds to an epic climax before ending as softly as it began.
The verses of “Can’t Take it With You” bring some of the fun craziness you’d expect from people like Jonas Reingold and guitarist Roine Stolt, but once the chorus kicks in it seems all down to business as it soars over any silliness present elsewhere in the song. Overall the song does a nice job in showing the versatility in Reingold’s songwriting. The next track, “There’s Nothing Wrong With the World” reminds me of why Goran Edman is the perfect vocalist for Karmakanic’s style of music. He is a versatile vocalist, but no matter what he’s singing he brings a warmth and passion to the music that draws you towards it and makes you want to sing along. The song also features what is probably Stolt’s most memorable solo on the album, one that has its more drawn out and melodic moments, but is at its best as it picks up with intensity and speed.
“Bite the Grit” is the albums shortest track and also quite possibly the best. Nothing overly complex about the song, but there are nice guitar riffs throughout, and the one in the heavier instrumental section of the song is particularly catchy and I find myself waiting to get to it every listen through the song. Finally, “When Fear Came to Town” is a somber closer much in the same vein of “Eternally” and a fitting change of pace to end the album. Beautiful throughout I can think of no complaints about the song other than it seems to simply follow the formula “Eternally”.
While I find the album to have some fresh ideas and many great songs I don’t think it quite hits the high bar set by its predecessor. While the album isn’t without memorable moments (see “1969” and “Turn it Up for quite a few!), I don’t think it stands out amongst the crowd of progressive releases as well as albums like Entering the Spectra and Who’s the Boss in the Factory. Individual songs don’t stand out as much either, and while there are a bunch of great songs I find it to be just that, a bunch of great songs without much standing above the rest. I suppose in the grand scheme of things that isn’t too big of a complaint, and it remains a strong record, but as a long time fan of Karmakanic I think I’ll be reaching for older albums more often than not.
Nick’s Rating: 88%