Released on March 20th, To Touch the Sky (housed in a beautiful and striking cover created by the talented Tree Stewart) is the fourth album from Cornish based contemporary prog group The Emerald Dawn and is the follow up to 2019’s Nocturne.
One of the finest modern progressive acts and well known for their atmospheric and haunting take on progressive rock, To Touch the Sky, an album consisting of three tracks, is what you play someone when they want to know what new bands to listen to.
Evolving their sound (as all the best bands do) To Touch the Sky is an absolute masterpiece in contemporary prog from start to finish and has to be listened to as one whole piece of work, there’s no dipping in and out of here, this is an album that needs your full attention, and one that rewards the listener.
Each track is carefully built to grow and develop, and the vocals of Stewart and Carter are a perfect blend as the album flows.
Starting with the 11 minutes plus The Awakening (the shortest track on the album!) the distinctive keyboards of Stewart immediately make their mark, and whilst the band all shine throughout this record, special mention must go to Tree Stewart whose keyboard work is sublime throughout and really drives and builds the momentum of the tracks throughout, and the sound the band makes here, it’s astonishing to think they’re only a quartet.
The album builds through each track, with some great musical interplay from the band on And I Stood Transfixed before the triumphant finale of The Ascent, which is 22 minutes of sheer musical pleasure.
These are classic progressive tracks in their sound and structure and give plenty of room for the songs to grow and breath, and despite their length, they don’t feel long if that makes sense, and in giving the music the space it needs it allows the songs to flow and grow on you.
Unlike so many bands who use up the space because they feel they need to, The Emerald Dawn sound is far more organic, and thus the songs are more developed, the sound more cohesive and it’s that sense of everything fitting together that makes this a near perfect album.
I don’t see any point in comparing the sound of this album to any band out there at the moment, because to be honest The Emerald Dawn don’t sound like anyone else out there currently.
They have a unique sound, which is due in no small part to the way Tree and Ally bounce of each other musically whilst Greenaway and Jackson are peerless in the way they build a foundation for the band to build on. Their collaborative spirit drives this album forward and shows that the band are not just progressive in the truest sense of the word but are also progressing with each album they make.
This has the unmistakable Emerald Dawn sound and builds on the foundations the band have diligently laid down on previous releases to give them the freedom to expand and enhance their sound, there is a confidence and purpose about this album, and it’s an absolute joy to listen to from start to finish.
If you’ve not heard The Emerald Dawn, I strongly recommend you rectify this immediately, and this is as good a place to start as any.
- The Awakening (11:15)
- And I Stood Transfixed (15:07)
- The Ascent (22:17)
Tree Stewart: Keyboards, piano, flute, acoustic guitar and vocals
Ally Carter: electric and acoustic guitars, tenor and soprano saxophones, keyboards and vocals
David Greenaway: Fretless and fretted bass guitars
Tom Jackson: Drums
To Touch the Sky was released on March 20th, 2021 and is available from: