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Sudden Dusk Reviews

“However never received a proper support from the music industry nor a proper recording contract - just one of those myriad of capital sins committed against good prog music. That explains the fact that this album is basically a collection of tracks written through the mid 1970s through 1981, and recorded in 1980-1981: so, eventually these victims of oblivion managed to get their material out in the market as a testimony of their musical genius. Bassist/keyboardist Peter Princiotto appears to be the band's leader, since he writes most of the material comprised here, and is usually the busiest instrumentalist; but this is not someone's band, but a well-oiled ensemble that functions fluidly as a unit, with a clear sense of purpose and unhidden enthusiasm. The absolute proficiency shown in the guitar and reed solos, together with the exquisite precision of the rhythm section, make this repertoire attractive despite its intricacy and somewhat recurrent inclusion of dissonance and challenging counterpoints. Main influences are Gentle Giant, early Henry Cow, 72-74 Zappa, and Hatfield & the North; there's also an exquisite flavor at times similar to that of Happy the Man. But at the end of the day, the thing is that However's sound is not merely a melting pot of foreign ideas, since it is clear that the band achieves their own voice. The opening cut 'It's Good Fun' is precisely good fun, both appealing and complex, if only a bit too short - it could have gone places had it been developed further. Anyway, it's catchy enough to keep the listener alert to what's yet to come. After the brief interlude 'Hardt', 'In the Aisles' brings back the funny vibe and keeps it working on. 'Louise Sitting on a Chair' stands out as a captivating piece of beautiful music wrapped under a delicate veil of solemnity - oh, that piano, and that soprano sax,.. and those subtle touches on bass guitar and cello... just like a siesta in the realms of a peaceful universe. This same calm beauty will be later refurbished in the acoustic guitar duet titled 'In the Midst of Making', a piece of dreamy moods that also features mesmeric soprano sax flourishes and soft singing. 'Beese' and 'No Cows' show the band at their most aggressive and dissonant, something like a compromise between jazz-rock and Canterbury style with a RIO-esque twist: these are the tracks where all musicians' virtuosity meets its most challenging expression, which is obviously due to the dearly complex nature of the writing and arranging processes. On the other hand, the title track is constructed as a Frippian guitar soundscape supported by somber synth layers and mysterious nuances of fuzz guitar, fretless bass, recorder and sax. The result is really disturbing, despite its reflective mood (as opposed to scary). 'Lamplight' and 'Trees for the Forest' are the jazziest numbers in the album, while 'Grandfather Was the Driver' is a very Zappa-esque combination of country and Eastern exotic stuff. It's a shame that this repertoire, as amazing and splendorous as it is, has been so overlooked for so long: thanks to the CD technology, there is a chance that "Sudden Dusk" may be acknowledged by progheads all over the world as what it is - a musical testimony of pure excellence. This a real unique prog masterpiece: However is USA prog at its very best!!" [ProgArchives (Cesar Inca)] [Gibraltar (Mike Taylor)]
Prognaut Reviews
“One of the great unsung and criminally-ignored American progressive bands. Taking their rightful mantle alongside fellow cult combos Happy the Man and Cartoon, this inventive quartet blended off-kilter arrangements, unusual instrumentation and a Zappa-esque humorous flair into a devilishly clever mixture. However blended breakneck rock, pastoral classicality, jazz and symphonic progressive in consistently solid fashion. If there’s been a glaring gap in your progressive rock collection, it’s probably because you’ve been unable to snare a copy of this delightful, maverick masterwork - there’s no excuse now, is there?” [i/e]
““However use their musical abilities to build upon the Gentle Giant and Canterbury foundation to create a music that can only be described as one of the better American efforts from the late 70’s into the 80’s. If you like your Prog steeped in counterpoint and technical ability, However will be worth your while to audition.” [Gibraltar (Mike Taylor)]
“I am intensely satisfied with this excellent album. It fills my craving for intelligent prog... There are tight fast breaks, complex and rapidly changing time signatures, the fierce use of band dynamics not just for dramatic effect but as an element of composition itself. This is highly structured music, yet at no point is a piece at the mercy of structure; it is always the other way round... As you are able to increasingly assimilate the music in all its density, it gradually expands like a dried sponge to fill the available space in your head.” [Gibraltar (Kenneth Newman)]
“Often quoted as the American answer to Hatfield and the North, However were actually much more than that... hints of Gentle Giant, The Muffins, Happy the Man... this is certainly a superb CD.” [Audion]
“From go to finish, this is a pleasure. A rousing chorus of cheers in 5/4 time for However.” [Sweet Potato]
“The reissue of However’s classic Canterbury-inspired first album is one this writer has been anticipating for years... They have taken that [Henry Cow] type of sound and expanded it to a higher melodic level, full of atmospherics and powerful dynamic flux, so in that respect, one may also be reminded of Happy the Man... This is an album that many would enjoy. There’s enough going on here to keep even the most discriminating listener interested, yet it remains fairly accessible overall.” [Exposé]
Sudden Dusk has the feel if not the actual sound of the English Canterbury school married with a detectable American folk influence, producing rock/chamber compositions of unusual beauty and dimension... The usual reference points given include Zappa, National Health, Gentle Giant and the like, but the similarities to those groups are only in that these are first rate players and the fact that the music is often complex, though never at the expense of symmetry and melody... Sudden Dusk is one of those records that represent the apex of American progressive music.” [Gibraltar (Ken Watson)]
“The playing is inspired and truly exceptional, not your average lyrical prog.” [Music Uncovered]
“If you appreciate progressive quirkiness and skilled playing in the grand traditions of Zappa and Gentle Giant, you’re sure to enjoy this album.”” [Progression]
“This is an eclectic mix with great musicianship, dynamics, and composition skills, [ranging from] atmospheric to heavy. This music surprises you with every listen. I highly recommend this band to anyone who likes a challenge musically; they will blow you away. I would say there is a Happy the Man sound, along with some Crimson, and they are also very original... This is a great disc and has everything, from heavy to new age, great songs; it will take some time but this could be top 10 for me.” [Prog-Net (Eric Porter)]

Calling Reviews

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