KEVIN LAWRY - The Journey Of Regret

Kevin Lawry - The Journey Of Regret

4 songs
42:37 minutes
***** ***


Kevin Lawry began his musical career in doom metal bands (Silent Winter, Khthon), then turned his mind to a more psychedelic orientation with Crowned In Earth, whose latest album Metempsychosis from 2015 was already a heavy nod to the progressive rock music of the Seventies. Then he decided to continue solo under his own name, to venture even deeper into vintage prog. A first album named The Shadows Stole The Dawn came out in late 2016, and although it was not yet matured to perfection, it was already a decisive step into a new direction. Now, about a year and a half later, Kevin Lawry is back with his second solo longplayer, titled The Journey Of Regret.

It is clear from the start that this is his most ambitious work yet. The record contains only four tracks, each of which running between nine and twelve minutes. Where the debut occasionally used sounds from the Eighties (modern prog, new wave,...), this sophomore effort is through and through Seventies all over! One thingís certain: Kevin Lawry really loves his mellotron sounds. If this legendary instrument was a true pain in the ass when it was popular, it is today easy to get as digital emulation for keyboards, therefore less expensive to purchase and especially much lighter to transport.

The album starts with the first part of the title track, and the first twenty seconds might make you think you were listening to a Jamiroquai funk rock song, but then strange twisted trumpet keyboard sounds join in, before it all slows down, a flute gives the mood for the actual song to start. Hammond organ, mellotrons, guitar, bass and drums all come together to create a warm analogue mood. The vocals only join halfway into the song, and yes, they are still as hesitant and faltering as they used to be, but this time they are used more sparingly, allowing them to add just that little touch of melancholy that work so well in the overall context of the song. The following The Drift is at twelve minutes the albumís longest track, and in many ways also my favourite song so far. The mellotron flute sounds have always had something utterly devastating, possibly thanks to Led Zeppelinís Stairway To Heaven, and here they work their magic too. But letís get back to the beginning of the song, with a guitar part that is reminding me of Rushís late Seventies material. The second part of this three-layered behemoth once again features this weird trumpet fanfare blasts, but itís also Kevin Lawryís unselfconscious attitude towards his music that makes it all work. Mellotron choirs add a certain grandeur, and you start wondering just how many mellotron sounds Kevin Lawry got his hands on. The third and last part of the song contains a really cute flute melody that is so typical medieval England that you can only think of the quirky Canterbury influence of Caravan.

The second half begins with Remember When, starting in a weird surf rock meets prog rock way, as if The B-52s had unearthed a mellotron, and then there comes a Crimsonesque break before this track becomes a melancholic ballad about the past. The vocals are really heart-breaking this time, showing us an artist who has much matured over the last year and a half. The album ends with the second part of the title track, with a very spacy intro, possibly a nod to an early Mike Oldfield, with also occasional Pink Floyd moments shining through. With a two-parted title track that makes it to twenty minutes, and two further tracks a little over ten minutes long, The Journey Of Regret may not be a very long album, but it is one that work from the beginning to its end. It sounds more organic than its predecessor, and although all of the songs are longer, they are also more memorable. Best of all, itís a pay-what-you-want release, so no one has an excuse to miss out on this. And still I strongly recommend you leave a few Euros so that Kevin Lawry can enchant his audiences with much more music in the future. The Journey Of Regret is far from original, but that was never its intention. Instead itís an ode to the fanciful progressive rock music of the Seventies, and while that genre is often as reviled as science fiction literature, it will never cease to have devoted fans. And I count myself among them.

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