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Christus & The Cosmonaughts - From Atop This Hill [Beta-Lactam Ring Records - 0000]

From atop of this hill is an enduringly quirky, cosmic and original mix of prog, electronica and pop - offering up an eight track album that nears the hour mark that always remains fresh and varied through out.

One would imagine from the projects name and the sound on offer weíre dealing aleast with a 5 piece band, but itís played by just two people; Scot Solida handling the lion share of instrumentation from: vocals, various guitars, mandolin, Appalachian Mountain Dulcimer, bells, chimes, drums and percussion, Hammond organ and various synthesizers. With Har handling electric guitars, bass, chapman stick and ebow. There a few guest as well, but very few if you take on the heady and deeply textured song craft on offer through out, they manage to balance the mixes of styles nicely- so you donít know what youíll get next be it: prog, hypnotic synth scapes, electronic often jerky beat craft, electro pop , or a mix of them all with some other neat  other genre touches too like dips into folk and funk.

A few stand out moments for me would be the opener Beyond belief with itís mix of mean and moody soundscapes, latter-day Genesis gone to the dark side with weird edges, which mid-way goes into a nice chugging synth and guitar march that also show the first traces of the virtuous but not indulgent guitar soloing- that goes from blues, emotional, to rocking to odd. Surviving the fanatics feels like an more inventive & quirky take on OMD 80ís synth pop, with some beautiful ambient guitar undersoloing and neat electronica elements.

A very satisfying and varied album that welcomes replays easily, embossed though out with well played and thought out instrumental colours and shades.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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