by Aaron Gidney
Norwegian Post-Rock Proggers, Soup unleash their latest adventure, “Visions”on November 19.
Founded in 2004 by Erlend Viken, this is the groups seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2017’s Remedies.
Steven Wilson/Porcupine Tree fanboys and girls will be right at home here – with Lasse Hoile responsible for the artwork. Musically, there are also going to be a lot of comparisons to the aforementioned’s output – Soup most definitely channel the minimalistic, post-rock elements of the PT/Wilson catalogue, which is no bad thing.
Album opener, Burning Bridges begins like a gorgeous cinematic Floydian expedition, setting the landscape for the next 40 minutes. Sweeping synths and melodic lead guitar lines mesmerise until the gentle vocals introduce themselves and sway the listener with dulcet tones. There’s plenty of light and shade throughout the 15 minute opener, as you’d expect from Post-Rock but with the ice use of additional instrumentation heard throughout – via the Gentle Sky Orchestra conducted by Liv Brox. Flutes, Violins and Trumpets are a nice complement to both the louder and quieter moments adding to the cinematic feel.
Crystalline strips the instrumentation back to a folky feel with some pretty acoustic picking underneath melodic violin accompaniment. It’s a very lilting piece that has a distinct 70’s Prog Rock feel albeit in late-90’s PT disguise with added Trumpets for good measure. The seven minute eventually descends into a white noise, distorted mess whilst the Trumpet melody repeats and fades away before ending abruptly and moving into the minimalistic piano-led Skins Pt. 1 interlude.
Kingdom of Colour is peaceful, Brave-era Marillion jaunt – the guitar tones used are identical to those Mr Rothery used on that album – no bad thing there. The use of the Violin as a main melodic lead is a smart move in absence of vocals or guitar lines and builds more confidently as the track progresses into Sigur Ros vocal territory before resetting with a solo classical guitar section. The track finishes with more orchestral melodies to sweep the listener away into soundscape territory.
Skins Pt 2-3 closes off the album, bringing the vocals back in after continuously following on from Kingdom of Colour. The track picks up around 3 minutes in to take us into the big finale…which then does a bait and switch by introducing Mellotron and Acoustic Guitar. Eventually we do get the big finale with some melodic slide guitar and some fantastic major to minor chord changes to take us through to the end.
The album feels a little short at 40 minutes but that’s probably a good thing as it doesn’t feel too exhausting like some other Post Rock albums.
Interestingly, the album notes outline a support of a number of political and eco-social causes:
Soup is endorsing the following political and eco-social causes:
No to discrimination and racism
Ecology before economy; Say no to brain dead consumerism
No to open net pen salmon- and fish farming
Yes to respect, care and «everyone doing their best»
Yes to re-use & Repair
No to hate
Yes to paper and crayons, sticks and analog creativity
No to ignorance
Yes to love
It’s a well-crafted piece of work and the addition of the Lasse Hoile art direction adds a lot of gravitas to the project and will hopefully continue to draw the band some new fans.
1. Burning Bridges
3. Skins Pt. 1
4. Kingdom of Colour 5. Skins Pt. 2-3
Nice review, but isn’t it rumoured this may be Soup’s last album?
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Their website bio includes the following: “Years later, it’s 2020, and Soup will be releasing their final album as a band. Visions is set to hit the shelves later this year.” The info accompanying the album ends with “It’s been a fine ride”. And given the creation of Giant Sky, Erlend’s new solo project, this does sound like the nail in the coffin for Soup, sadly.
Whether they’ll perform live again remains to be seen… we can only hope!
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