Most ambitious album
Christopher R. Wilson | Arlington, TX USA | 11/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sure, this album failed in the US. It's not, however, the fault of the band or the music. With almost every song clocking in a 5+ minutes, the charts were never their goal with this release. Listening to this album straight through, to me, is like reading an epic novel. It has a lot of elements to keep track of throughout and it can be taxing. It's not an "easy" listen, despite it being very melodic and pristinely-recorded. Much like a great book, though, the reward, is wonderfully found upon reaching its climax ("Let It All Come Down", "Mandela Day", "Belfast Child", and their cover of "Biko") and conclusion. All of the musical build-up to reach that point has been well-served. There's not a weak track in this set and it sounds very much of a piece. Of all the rock albums I've owned or listened to, this one has one of the most "classical" feels to it because of the way the songs fit together like a suite or a rhapsody. The intricate arrangements also display a musical craft and thought-process of composers, not songwriters. I highly recommend this (and Real Life) for fans of music that demands listening - not just car-driving or hip-swaying background noise."