The concept album may be something of which prog can claim ownership, but in truth, a lot of ‘concepts’ underpinning prog records are either woolly or impenetrable. But hey, if the music floats our boat, do we care that much?
Maybe not, but illustrator turned songwriter Leon Alvarado has gone the extra mile in creating a strong narrative backdrop for this instrumental album. In between tracks, a suitably portentous voiceover relays the story of a future Earth, overcrowded and stripped of resources, where daily rockets send richer inhabitants off to nearby planets known as ‘the colonies’ for a new life somewhere between the moon and Mars.
It’s based on a short story by Alvarado, printed on the inner sleeve and there’s further sonic enhancement with noodling Moog patterns from Rick Wakeman on Launch Overture, and Billy Sherwood contributes some anguished guitar soundscapes. From the ambient contemplation of Among The Stars through the crescendous passages of The Ones Left Behind to the elegant orchestral swell of In Our Quiet Orbit, it takes the blueprint Wakeman created on Journey… and creates something fresh with it. And that’s a concept we’ll buy into any day of the week.