Label: NoFish Productions
Review: Kev Rowland
Thoughts: "Oh it is a tangled skein that we do weave".
Legend has done it once again! Coinciding with band's 25th anniversary, they here return with yet another brilliant album in Spirit (2013). I had the great honour to get a copy straight from the band in advance of the official release date and the music of Spirit (2013) has been playing frequently in my headphones and speakers since I received it. Another Legend masterpiece revealed itself and the five tracks of Spirit (2013) are nothing short of stunning!
One thing to note is the change in the vocal department. Kerry Parker, who replaced the original voice of Debbie Chapman for the previous Cardinal Points, is here replaced by Beck Sian. It is remarkable both how well the band has lived through (and gained from) every one of these changes and also how fantastic all three singers are in their own right. Most bands are not so lucky as to find one great vocalist, but Legend has found no less than three. Sian has an amazing voice that fits the music of Legend hand in glove. She has a distinctive voice and an identity all of her own, yet at the same time she sounds similar enough to previous Legend vocalists to carry on the legacy with grace. It would be very exciting to hear how she handles the older material.
Another line-up change consists in the return of original guitarist Paul Thomson who was absent from Cardinal Points. Drummer John Macklin and keyboard player Steve Paine remain stable (with the latter also producing and engineering the album). The musicianship is excellent throughout with dense layers of various keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, bass, drums and percussion, lead vocals, and dramatic choirs. The hour long album is bursting with creativity and there isn't a dull second on the disc. The style is Legend's own and will clearly be recognized by anyone who is familiar with the band's previous efforts. But Spirit (2013) is more than a mere continuation of earlier albums, it sees the band evolving towards ever greater heights.
The mood is dark yet optimistic which is nicely captured in visual form in the great art work credited to Josephine Wall. The world depicted on the sleeve has many dimensions just like the music of Spirit (2013). The clever lyrics are of equally high quality and revolve around a theme of "spiritual" and existential matters like "finding ones true path" in life (at least that's one interpretation; great lyrics always leave room for interpretation).
If you appreciate Legend's earlier albums, do by no means miss out on this one. If you don't yet know this unfairly overlooked band, take a "leap of faith" and acquire Spirit (2013). (And then, if you're anything like me, you're inevitably going to want to get all of the band's other albums as well--all five of them are excellent additions.)
Very highly recommended!