Album review overview: Marillion, Airbag and more

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. There are way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

David Hallyday – Requiem pour un Fou

David Hallyday’s latest album “Requiem pour un Fou” is a touching tribute to his father, the legendary Johnny Hallyday. Although David’s voice may not be as distinctive as his father’s, he manages to convey a deep emotion that makes the album special. The selection of Johnny’s songs reminds us of the immense influence and lasting legacy of the rock legend. “Sang pour Sang,” the duet between father and son, is an absolute highlight that gives you goosebumps. The passion and respect with which David honours his father are palpable in every note. The album succeeds in celebrating Johnny’s legacy without delving into the legal issues surrounding his estate. “This album honours his music, and that’s beautiful,” as one review aptly notes. For fans of Johnny Hallyday, “Requiem pour un Fou” is a wonderful reminder of the greatest artist France has ever known. David proves that music is about more than just sounds; it’s also about love and respect for an icon. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (Mystery Place Productions)

Marillion – An hour before it’s Dark, live in Port Zelande 2023

Marillion is, of course, a household name in the prog world. Founded in 1979, this British band has built an impressive repertoire. In the 1980s, Marillion experienced its most commercially successful period with the charismatic frontman Fish. But to this day, this idiosyncratic band remains one of the genre’s flagships. Marillion moves with the times and was one of the first bands to use the internet and social media for commercial purposes and interaction with their fans. Since 2002, Marillion has welcomed their loyal fans to special weekends. These “Marillion Weekends” are held every two years and are attended by fans from all over the world. This album is a recording of the performance Marillion gave on Saturday, March 18, in Port Zélande. That evening, the 2022 album “An Hour Before It’s Dark” was complemented by the songs “Estonia,” “Afraid Of Sunlight,” “Go!,” “The Space,” and “Zeparated Out.” Marillion was in top form that night, delivering a memorable performance with Luis Jardim, humorously introduced by Steve Hogarth and the string quartet In Praise Of Folly. On this double album, the band stays far away from their past and shows where they stand today. This album is released with a DVD by V2 Records and will be available on vinyl and CD on June 21. A must-have for fans, especially if you were there. (Ad Keepers) (8/10) (ear MUSIC)

Soprano – Freedom

With his new album “Freedom,” Soprano has once again demonstrated why he is one of the most influential and beloved artists in the French rap scene. After the success of “Chasseur d’étoiles,” which sold over 250,000 copies and was followed by a massive tour across France, Soprano impresses again with “Freedom.” The album was announced with the release of the single “C24” in March, followed by the summer hit “Facile à danser” in May. These songs already gave a taste of the energy and creativity that permeates the album. On May 8, Soprano enchanted the audience with a performance on a floating stage in the Vieux-Port of Marseille during the arrival of the Olympic flame, where he presented his new single. “Freedom” is a musical masterpiece with twelve tracks that highlight Soprano’s versatility and talent. The title track is a potential international hit, thanks to the delightful influences of West African Mali blues woven throughout the album. Every song showcases an artist at the peak of his abilities. “Facile à danser” promises to be a summer hit, perfect for long, warm days and sultry nights. “Freedom” could easily become the summer album of 2024. With this album, Soprano has not only outdone himself but also created a celebration of musical influences and rhythms that will appeal to listeners worldwide. (Elodie Renard) (8/10) (Warner Music France)

Luna Shadows – Bathwater

With her latest album “Bathwater,” Luna Shadows confirms her place in the contemporary music scene as a unique and captivating singer-songwriter. This is her second album of the year, but it is far from a collection of leftover material from her previous work. The quality of the material on “Bathwater” surpasses even that of her earlier albums. Listen to “Witches’ Brew,” an ethereally beautiful song that perfectly combines her mystical voice with repetitive figures and sparingly orchestrated music. While such arrangements have been done before, they fit perfectly into the 2024 vibe of mist-shrouded singer-songwriters. The song sounds both original and familiar, a difficult balance that Luna Shadows seems to find effortlessly. “Nudes” is another highlight of the album. It has a touch of Laurie Anderson at the beginning, giving the song an artistic and experimental atmosphere. This album invites listeners to be curious and rewards them with a depth that only fully reveals itself after multiple listens. With “Bathwater,” Luna Shadows shows her growth as an artist and her ability to renew her sound while staying true to her unique style. This album is a must for anyone looking for new, immersive music and has the potential to grow with each listen. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (Luna Shadows)

Airbag – The Century of Self

With their new album “The Century of Self,” Airbag confirms their reputation as masters of neo-prog rock. The album contains only five tracks, but each is of respectable length and quality, as you would expect from this band. Innovation is lacking, but that need not be a problem for the ageing rock enthusiast. The influences of ’70s rock, particularly Pink Floyd, are audible and give the album a nostalgic feel. The opener “Dysphoria” immediately sets the tone with its captivating melodies and atmospheric soundscapes. The comparison with bands like Pendragon is inevitable, especially due to the distinctive vocals. This song is simply good within the genre and grabs the listener immediately. “Erase” is perhaps the most typical song on the album. Dark and epic, it evokes the grandeur of ’70s prog rock while reminding us of an era now considered retro. This makes the album a beautiful tribute to the rock of yesteryear, with all its clichés. For the lover of classic prog rock, “The Century of Self” is a feast of recognition. Airbag fails to bridge the gap between the past and the present with their music, resulting in an album that feels mostly nostalgic. This is a record for those who love what once was, in the best sense of the word. (Anton Dupont) (7/10) (Karisma Records)

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