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"The passionately played opening piano notes on the first song "Lines Are Drawn Again" suggest a great retro prog rock sound that harkens back to the earliest days of the 70's with a singer whose delivery may sound monotone at first but he will reveal incredible depth and expression with each subsequent track. The languid opening slowly leads into a more adventurous piece as various instruments work their way into mix, ranging from subtle guitar chords, a ferocious yet perfectly fitting bass, and numerous classical instrumentation. By its end, we are already introduced to a tremendously impressive band that has yet to offer a lot more on the following nine tracks.

Early King Crimson traces unite with Mellotron-supported jazz harmonies before multi-instrumentalist Johan Lundstrom throws in some amazing drum beats producing 70's fills during a brief vocal-free intro. Judging by this one long tune, vocalist Markus Fagervall is an intense soul. He really sings the way his heart dictates here, rather than following the song's pattern as on the other tracks. In a way, I had to think of Anders Jansson's expressive vocals on Tomas Bodin's last album "I Am". Similarly, Fagervall goes for raw yet extremely haunting vocal expressions, singing desperately over fluent jazz piano which is then joined by some saxophone and clarinet work, not to mention Joel Lindberg's utterly engaging bass playing. The bass shakes you up, shudders and thunders holding everything together, but it is so perfectly placed into the mix that not even for a moment does it take away from the listening experience. The 10-minute piece is finalised with a mesmerizing string arrangement eventually connecting with the other classically influenced track "The Marriage of Maria Braun". Awesome cello and violin work generates an ethereal atmosphere and the song is once again underlied by a textural bass line that is meticulously placed in the heart of the song. Accordions, dynamic guitars, and 4/4 drum beats are followed by Olle Sjogren's sick jazz piano soloing until the final second.

Ropert Fripp-style folk licks are captured on "Rhododendron" where you can also hear a brilliant solo passage for acoustic guitar, as melancholic synths start to float about the track amidst chunks of pronounced bass work and Mellotron effects. Slowly the song develops into a fierce prog anthem where every instrument soars wildly and the composition takes on a cinematic vibe. Footsteps and someone using an old typewriter can be heard in the background if listened attentively, but soon enough, a dirge-like acoustic break is introduced and the song is wrapped up with groovy bass figures. Though most of this album is pretty laidback and dark in nature, the band also knows how to write Beatles style poppy 60's rockers on "Killer Couple Strikes Again" and the happy-sounding "The Thorn in Your Flesh". Some really impressive guitar harmonies are present on the Anekdoten type of song "Everywhere", which also carries a good amount of double bass and classical instrumentation. Although most expressive on the longer songs, Fagervall comes up with the album's catchiest and best vocal melody on the ballad "Just Like You", featuring another awesome orchestral backdrop and crying violin lead.

Great production work is another plus. Lots of proggers who want to hear something different should seek this disc out."
Score: ****

RATING: 8 out of 10

"Swedish quintet Liquid Scarlet return with the follow-up to their highly acclaimed eponymous debut album released in 2004. It is rare these days to be immediately enraptured by a song, but that happened when the first notes of "Lines Are Drawn Again" rang out from my speakers. Beautiful in its simplicity, Olle Sjögren's solitary piano chords blend perfectly with the softly intoned vocals of Markus Fagervall before, gradually, the minimalist sound is joined by gently plucked (by Joel Lindberg) bass notes, cymbals and drums (played by Johan Lundström) and finally a couple of repeated guitar notes (from Olov Andersson). As the music builds in tempo and volume, the instrumentation becomes fuller rounded off with some choral style backing vocals. Imagine if you will a mixture of Sigur Rós and Aqualung and you may come close. Simply stated, this is the most impressive song I have heard all year.

After such an immense opening, how would the rest of the album hold up? Thankfully, the answer is impressively well. "The Carafe [part II]" starts with some angular guitar riffs backed by some heavy strumming before the tempo is taken down and filled with some jazzy piano and synth washes supporting the vocals. The overall effect is something akin to the first couple of King Crimson albums and it is no exaggeration to suggest the song is every bit as good as the material on those seminal albums. Jumping styles again, a string quartet is the backing for the introduction to "The Marriage Of Maria Braun". An achingly beautiful song, superbly sung by Fagervall, with the vocals set against a backdrop of Sjögren's electric piano which takes over from the string quartet. Multi-instrumentalist Johan Lundström (in addition to drums and percussion he also sings and plays accordion, harmonica, guitar, violin and keyboards and also writes the bulk of the songs as well as the sting arrangements) opens "Rhododendron" with a rather folkish accordion. However, the listener is duped if they think they are in for a mellow ride as the song is schizophrenic in the extreme. Bouts of frantic Fripperian guitar work and Emerson synthesiser frenzies are mixed with quieter sections replete with sound effects.

"Everywhere" is, once again, beautifully sung and instrumentally mixes in cello, violin and vibraphone with the more traditional rock instruments. The string quartet are back for "Just Like You", the most classically orientated song on the album. The melancholy vocals belie the dark nature of the lyrics: "I shot her once, I shot her twice, I killed her fast, she's dead at last, You'll judge me too, but I'm just like you". The darker lyrical theme is continued in "Killer Couple Strikes Again" which is a great song and in more musically enlightened times would be a hit single as it blends a commercial sound with original grittiness (great video too!). "There's Got To Be A Way To Leave" takes on the mantle of the album's epic, albeit not in length but in vision and scope. Grandiose and lush with a very continental flavour, ideal for the closing scene of a film. Combining an accordion with the string quartet is nothing short of inspired. Tempo rises and murderous lyrics, return for "The Thorn in Your Flesh", a more straight forward rocker while closing number "Lines" once again builds on the piano opening to create a stunning keyboard-laden finale, outstanding.

Is there a future for progressive rock? It would be foolish in the extreme to state that Liquid Scarlet were the answer to that question. However, with music this good and musicians with this much talent, those waiting for the sounding of the death knell of the rock known as prog had better be patient.
Easily contender for album of the year. "
Conclusion: 9+ out of 10

"I havent heard anything like it!! And that's a plus!!

"What I like about them is their attitude and their very own ‘now’ sound. It still very much remains prog but they do it without looking back to the seventies copying bits and pieces from established names in the genre. Already from the opening song on this new album which starts with solitary and simple piano chords the band grabs your attention. Then singer Markus Fagervall kind of recites the lyrics rather than actually sing them. Bit by bit however the arrangement ‘swells’ as more instruments join in. In a way it’s like an alternative bolero but strong enough to keep you focussed throughout. The band has an incredible ear for interesting hooks and splendid melodies although they tend to deliver both commercial sounding odds and sods and pure progressive epics in one go.

‘Everywhere’ once again breathes and depicts the original nature of early Anekdoten this time around even incorporating cello. However the aggressive intro is soon shoved aside once Markus’ vocals blend nicely with distant xylophone sounds. Captivating and entrancing. The next song ‘Just like you’, not only uses cello but also adds violin and viola. In fact the only accompaniment comes from a wonderful string quartet. Imagine those heavenly sounds only combined with vocals. This is Art with a big “A” ! ‘The thorn in your flesh’ contains all the right elements to make this a standout track and without any doubt it contains the strongest melodies you’ll find on the entire disc. Although the band is a five piece they are not afraid to use their instruments in a solitary setting which I sometimes find very daring. The piano first mingles with the voice in ‘Lines’ before guitar, bass and drums follow one by one. Towards the end the superb sound of the mellotron leads this album towards a grand finale only Liquid Scarlet is able to create !

This most definitely is music of a higher dimension. The kind of music which simple souls like us can’t really define. “II” is an out of this world beauty and a strong contender for album of the year PROGRESSIVE WORLD: BOBOROCKS

"With their second album this young band from Sweden has me completely convinced. The retro elements are not as concise as on the debut, but "II" sound more independent and, above all, more varied. Liquid Scarlet extended their sound by some facets and therefore stands repeated listenings. Both thumbs upward! "
Rating: 4,5 stars out of 5

"This album tears me back and forth and moves me to tears of joy."
Rating: 13/15