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Messenger: Threnodies

UK prog-folksters’ new-label debut hits heavier.

Messenger Threnodies album cover

It’s become something of a stamp of approval for any progressively minded rock band to sign for Germany’s Inside Out label, and this London group, now expanded from a trio to a quintet, suggested on their 2014 debut Illusory Blues – released by Svart – that they deserved a bigger commercial operation behind them.

The light-headed psych elements of that previous album are less pronounced here, but the urge to rock still regularly takes over in thrilling style, such as when the marching-out-to-battle epic Oracles Of War benefits from a fine Thin Lizzy-style twin guitar riff. But that extra thunder contrasts nicely with the floaty, Floydian Pareidolia, and Calyx channels Paranoid Android-era Radiohead in its ethereal melancholia, offset by stammering time signatures.

Elsewhere, their talent for pastoral, acoustic dream rock, first showcased on Illusory Blues, seems stronger than ever on final track Crown Of Ashes. An impressively mature second outing then, and you get the feeling their best is still to come.

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock