Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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Review: Steve Cochrane - La La La: Variations On A Happy Song (2012)


Information:
Artist: Steve Cochrane
Album: La La La: Variations On A Happy Song
Release date: June 9th, 2012
Label: Self Released

Running time: 56:53

Production details: Recorded, Mixed and Mastered at Steve Cochrane's home studio in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, in 2012.
Drums recorded at Armand Faguay's Studio.
Various keyboards parts recorded at Rob Adler's studio.

Packaging details: Digipack. No booklet.
Design by Steve Cochrane and Rebecca Buckland with technical assistance from Annette Roche.
Daydreamer: Louis Fouzie-Cochrane; photographed by Shirley Fouzie.

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Review by Diego Camargo      Rating:

Thoughts: Steve Cochrane is a Canadian musician that started his career back in the beginning of the 80's but that just started recording under his own name in 1991.
La La La: Variations On A Happy Song (2012) is his fifth album and the first of the musician I listened to.

To be honest, Prog albums recorded by solo artists can be very complicated. I will explain. In many cases the musicians record all the instruments by themselves and do all production, mastering etc and the result is amateurish lot of times. Before listening to La La La: Variations On A Happy Song (2012) I had this impression about the album, but I'm glad to say I was wrong!

Steve Cochrane plays all guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion and vocals. But he does all of it very well. Also he had drummers Kevin Richard and Richard Rizzo helping him as well as vocal appearances.

Right at the beginning, in the first track 'Alarm Clock Overture', is where I see that I was wrong about my first impression. The magnificent opening track takes us to a journey full of 'lalalas' right away, the first impression is well completed by the following track 'Makes Me Want To Sing' which is a great tune and full of vocals.

The record goes on with acoustic guitars on 'Red Sky' and the initial shock of 'Towards Ideal' that soon turns out to be a kind of Tears For Fears Prog.
The way Steve tells the story in this conceptual record based on acoustic guitars that are interspersed by inteligent electric guitars, seductive bass lines and many vocals is a joy! At 'A Song' I'm basically hooked!

All the tracks in the record are connected so the travelling continues with the trippy 'Just Clouds' that in the middle reminds Pink Floyd's The Wall era, but in fact the eleven minutes of it have pretty much everything.
'Beauty And Defiance' is a pretty acoustic piece, 'Birthright' is an impressive Symphonic piece with beautiful female vocals by Aimee Matuszczak that is very Marillion-like.
The final track of the album 'The Day I Found My Wings' brings back the amazing moments of the opening track with plenty of vocals and many acoustic guitars finishing the album on a high note!

La La La: Variations On A Happy Song (2012) is a hell of a discovery. It's so full of life, passion and amazing music. You'll find all kinds of Prog here and it makes me happy because of that.
But, if you have a thing for acoustic guitars and Symphonic Prog, this is your album!

I loved it!
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