They materialised in 2012, in a cloud of pretty psychedelic melodies, fresh-faced progressive rock and awed whispers of “promising newcomers…”. Now armed with second album Threnodies – their first with prog heavyweight label Inside Out – folk-prog Brits Messenger have graduated comfortably past the newbie status and shown that they actually have quite a bit more in the tank.
In places, it’s more classically proggy than their 2014 debut Illusory Blues. Most noticeably, however, its seven tracks are altogether heavier-hitting. In the upbeat, marching riffage of Oracles Of War, for instance, you’ll find more in the way of ‘60s psych – handled with weightier guitar and volume, à la Purson and Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats. Or Pink Floyd, if you’re after an older comparison (the bass intro of Celestial Spheres sounds like it came straight out of Meddle, before building into a textured mesh of early ‘70s rock and dreamy atmospherics).
Saying this there’s still a good amount of space for their ambient swathes of pastoral qualities; which have matured since Illusory Blues to absorbing effect. The warm likes of Balearic Blue and Nocturne give way to ethereal electronic touches, haunting spaces and folky harmonies, before swerving into reflective harder rock.