Let’s get one thing straight: Take Me Home sounds nothing like Within Temptation. It it, however, a cohesive collection of 12 uplifting and melodic prog rock tunes with hints of Von Hertzen Brothers and Headspace. Despite a hectic touring schedule, Ruud Jolie not only found the time to record a follow‑up to his side project’s 2011 self-titled debut, but he even roped in members of Pain Of Salvation and Ayreon collaborators to help. Gone are the symphonic flourishes from the debut and in their place are sun-baked vocal harmonies and irregular time signatures, all set against a feel-good atmosphere. There are hints of Jellyfish in The Big Wheel’s swirly chorus, Prophets In Disguise proffers a glimpse of FAWK’s heavier side, and Anneke van Giersbergen lends her distinctive tones to the radio‑friendly We Are The Light. There are, however, a few moments where the album sounds a bit too ‘nice’ – for example, Breathe: In could be the soundtrack to a car commercial – but fortunately there are standout tracks like the punchy Colours, which shows off the project’s diversity within a four-minute window. Take Me Home isn’t the most groundbreaking release of this year, but it has some sparkling moments.
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