Review by Kristian Pugh
Release Date: 28 March 2014
I can only relate how I felt when listening to this record as I did when I first listened to Radiohead, in the sense that there are moments of beauty, genius and where I thought to myself, “I’m not really sure what’s going on here, but it sounds cool and I like it.” The album’s psychedelic sound manages to send a wave of comfort around a room, and then at the right time picks itself up to bring in powerful vocals, expertly crafted riffs and pulsating drum solos which work together to create an incredibly atmospheric record.
Although members of the band have dabbled in hard-core and black metal, their attentions have been set to a cohesively ambient sound as can be heard on opening track ‘The Return’, with its moments of both peace and hypnotism. Perhaps the only criticism of the track is that vocalists Khaled Lowe and Barnaby Maddick should really be given more room to shine. This is a feeling that can be felt throughout the record at times. ‘Piscean Tide’ despite its calming flow is the kind of song that needed a big chorus in the middle and without that it could be seen as a slightly forgettable track for some listeners.
The same cannot be said however for songs such as the excellent ‘Somniloquist’ and the 9-minute powerhouse ‘Midnight’. Both bring a sound that a large audience could fall peacefully in love with. Together they showcase the true talents in the band, the balance between folk and progressive psychedelia has been pin-pointed in these tracks and both include a vast array of powerful Black Keys-style riffs which are a joy to behold.
Illusory Blues is an album that while particularly atmospheric can at times sound like too much of an instrumental. However the record still holds enough power and grace to certainly set up a future in the sound of folk and psychedelia for Messenger, it has moments of quiet, peaceful beauty equalled with moments of loud expressionism.
7 out of 10
- The Return
- Piscean Tide
- Dear Departure
- Perpetual Glow Of A Setting Sun
- Let The Light In