1. Schemata Prologue
2. Red in the Sky
4. Running Home
5. Bad Apple
6. Two Complaints
7. Off is a Crime
9. Downtown Crier
10. This Dog Just Rolled Over and Died
11. Through the Sunrise
12. Dead Utopia
After a long four year wait Ideamen have returned with their sophomore full length release and it was well worth waiting for!
Not much has changed in regard to the band’s sound, even though the quintet has been expanded to a sextet with the addition of Phil Miller on second guitar. Ideamen still feature the same skilled roster of musicians that delivered the eclectic 2007 statement of an EP Progress and the great debut full length album May You Live In Interesting Times. As you can probably tell, I’m somewhat of an Ideamen fan. Having discovered the band some time around mid 2011 and being completely blown away by their lighthearted, while truly inspirational and genuine, approach to eclectic music making. This is a team of talented musicians and songwriters who know how to make catchy and highly addicting songs while still being true to their band’s name. I’ve been hooked on them and have been following their progress though their official website and Facebook for any new related to a new release since. Not much happened during 2012 and it wasn’t until fall 2013 that Tim Swanson & company finally started talking about a new release. I made sure to pre-order my copy as soon as I could and received it in the mail around mid February.
The album has been on my regular playlist since then, even though it did have a hard time competing for my attention since I was still very much into Polkadot Cadaver’s latest album and have recently discovered Celebrity Sex Scandal, plus a few other new releases from acts like Dream Theater, Moon Safari, Dead Lord, Leprous and a few others. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I really started getting into Schemata but once I did, there was literally no way going back!
The album kicks off with an intro that quickly transforms into the album’s first true highlight. Red In The Sky is a song in true Ideamen-fashion, featuring strong instrumental and vocal hooks delivered with great passion and skill. I especially like the buildup section that begins around the 2-minute mark and continues for almost a minute before the chorus reprise kicks in and finishes the track. I was initially a bit skeptical in regard to the album’s first single, Running Home, after seeing the ridiculously cheesy tongue and cheek music video produced by the band. Even though I still have some reservations in regard to the composition’s chorus line it does manage to create a catchy and strong song that might actually give the band the commercial boost that they have so far been lacking.
Two Complaints is my personal favorite track and a glorious highlight from Schemata, featuring beautiful melodic hooks, well written arrangements and instrumental track arrangements. The first tones of Brainchild made me remember the albums melody from the intro track Schemata Prologue, hence this is the centerpiece of the album and it definitely deserves this title since Brainchild is a magnificent track where the band manages to fuse a bunch of their influences and create a truly original piece of music that can only be placed under the Ideamen label! If I really have to find a weak spot then it would be the blatantly obvious Queen tribute towards the end, especially the Brian May inspired guitar solo.
The album ends on the same strong note as it began with Dead Utopia, making me remember the exact reason of why I hold Ideamen close to my heart and mind. This is an exceptional piece of music that I highly recommend to all fans of vocal harmonies and passionate eclectic rock music. After all these passionate remarks in regard to the album’s quality I still hesitate to give it the highest possible rating, even though Schemata does come close to just that. The album features quite a few influences from other artists which sometimes make the experience seem slightly disjointed; first we get a song clearly sounding like something inspired by System of a Down, then we get some Queen, some Mike Patton-sounding vocals and so on and so on. This does sound like a nice novelty at first but becomes somewhat of a problem upon repeated listens as some songs swiftly get under this or that artist’s influence, thus distracting me from actually experiencing Ideamen. Having said that, I still find Schemata to be a highly fulfilling record and I’m sure that many of these compositions will be on my playlist for years to come!
***** star songs: Red In The Sky (4:38) Two Complaints (3:48) Brainchild (4:21) Downtown Crier (3:49) Dead Utopia (4:16)
**** star songs: Schemata Prologue (1:05) Momenta (4:01) Running Home (4:01) Bad Apple (2:51) Off Is A Crime (4:59) This Dog Just Rolled Over And Died (4:05) Through The Sunrise (4:00)
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