Daymoon’s All Tomorrows is one of those albums that, due to its music/goal/concept/making(/etc), makes the reviewer have many things to say, allowing several approaches and interpretations.
Perhaps the most important one, and that is why I’ll start by it, is the fact that the whole thing has been made as a love tribute to frontman Fred Lessing’s wife: Inês, who is currently fighting cancer in a race against time. This has driven the true goal of the album, which is funding (with all possible sells) the treatment that Inês is in urgent need. Therefore the album has been available for digital download in Daymoon’s site, allowing the buyer no name it’s price. There is also the good news that Russian label MALS will be releasing All Tomorrows in physical format, thus allowing and even greater exposure and distribution of this, cared, strange and very personal album.
Other thing that also needs proper praising and note is, not only the amount but especially the quality, the guest musicians involved in this album. From the most notorious in the prog-rock circles Andy Tillison (The Tangent / PO90), Mats Johansson and Thomas Olsson (Isildurs Bane), Luca Calabrese (many jazz projects) and Hugo Flores (Factory of Dreams / Project Creation) to the less known but excellent Paulo Chagas (Miosótis / Mispel Bellyful / Zpoluras), Fernando Guiomar (Trape-Zape) and Pete Prown (Guitar Garden). I mean, for me this fact alone would rush me out to get the album, under the implied offer of great playing. And this is something that, even throughout the comfortable strangeness of the album, is secured. And coming from very different musical grounds, though mainly interpreting Fred’s very bizarre take on progressive rock, the fact is that no one is a let down in any way, as the album is beautifully crafted in its instrumental side.
Goal and Musicians addressed, maybe it’s time now for me to talk about my feelings and thoughts about All Tomorrows. So that is exactly what I’ll do next, first talking in general terms in order to better go down on more specific readings…
Overall, and while the album is not totally balanced, nor it could be for the gamut of influences, changes and approaches that mold this cauldron of emotions and instrumentality, there are moments of true brilliancy and ingenious musical construction. Most times swirling in an extravaganza of experimentation and melody, harmonized in an odd, sometimes atonal or dissonant way. There is an almost constant earthly sense of naivity and fragility that is somehow disguised behind the complexity of the arrangements and the constant changes that the music presents. The vocals majorly contribute to this peculiar aspect of fragility and earthiness, as they are not compelling, great or unique in an artistic way. They are just simple, direct and emotional and sung like many of us would. Maybe that is one of the things that most end up connecting me to the album: the antithesis of pretentious vocals. In fact, the tone many times seems to step slightly out of tune (though it seems to me that this was the purpose) and I almost feel it could be me doing these vocals…
Fred labels himself (kind of jokingly) as a “regressive rock” musician, but I don’t see this album as such. Due to its peculiar characteristics, I see it more like a non-temporal piece of music, mainly because it is a story of a life and also an album about relationship and love…and that is not to be framed in time.
To be honest, the opening title song is my least favourite in the album. Musically somehow relates to the type of symphonic prog that The Flower Kings used to play, with some neo-prog merged within. The track is dynamic and paced, but is misses that connectivity to the listener that many of the next tracks strangely implement. It is perhaps the most in-your-face track of the album.
The experimental TrancendenZ mutates the path into pure experimentation, while still the album seems a bit off-track. The soloing units enrich the track with the same ease that confuses the listener, still searching for his opinion about the music. In a way, like on parts of most of the following tracks, there is something of Mispel Bellyful in here.
Human Again is the track that sets things on the right course of actions and events for the rest of the album. That slightly dissonant start that is slowly transformed by the guitar and ends up in a semi-childish / semi-folk part and before mutating into an almost epic playing part presents lots of ideas in just 2 minutes. The remaining 5+ minutes can as easily remind you of the fragile Camel’s A Nod and a Wink as a strange tangent to early Genesis (the guitar solo atarting at 5:13, and the keys and flute that accompany it really has that Steve Hackett aura). All stitched together by those personal vocals that I mentioned before. This is really where the album started sinking on me, and where it arouse that strange connection I bridged with it.
Marrakech is a small little interlude filled by atonal and very theatrical vocals with delicious musical details in the background and adding an uncommon and very well desguised Muslim touch to it.
Sorry is the first of 2 tracks that exceed the 10 minute mark. And it feels like an opus with all its changes, perspectives and instrumental approaches. It is cool that, after so many listens, there are still details being unveiled while listening to this track. Again, and like in all album, this is not something that blow the listener away, but a sharp listener (one that likes true symphonic progressive rock) will surely not escape its uncertain charm, presented in the subtle arrangements and truly prog architecture that goes from pastoral to epic and back, not forgetting a certain early 70’s Pink Floydian psychedelic part. It is one of those tracks that should be mentioned in forums of this style as a true resume of what progressive rock is all about (my opinion, obviously).
Bel Jar is a twist in the musical standards of the album (like if that exists…). With its modernized keyboards and drumming, it mostly puts the album in neo-prog grounds, though the almost jazzy part in the middle does transport it to different landscapes for a few moments. In a way, though, I may be wrong, because “all that we’ve learned is bound to be wrong!”.
First Rain starts in a very introspective and calm way, with the guitar again bringing some Steve Hackett to mind. The vocals are very emotional here and the vocal games quite well accomplished. A slow symphonic crescendo mediates the track before bringing things down to a pastoral soundscape again. Beautifully done…again.
The transition is smooth to Arklow, but a pure symphonic folk part starts gaining shape. The track again develops through constant changes between calmer (almost minimal) and filled in symphonic parts, presenting another great example of the albums diversity.
News From the Outside has a certain Pink Floyd touch to it, though not obvious (as it happens with the very subtle blues vibe). In fact this petite suite is a rich track that nevertheless appears as pretty direct…but it’s all in the details.
The closing The Sum, the longest track in the album (clocking around the 14th
minute mark), again swirls through different musical grounds, with an obvious Gentle Giant tingled first few minutes
and it ends up being the most experimental track in the album (well, it has
space for it). On minute 4 it suddenly turns left and shifts into one of the
most melodic moments of the album, which ends as suddenly as it has started,
morphing into a classical guitar/sung part. The clarinet and sax solo units are
simply great here as the track again portrays (and honestly it glamourizes and
commends) the true idea of symphonic progressive rock in its melodic format. The
track does not end before additional vocal games and an oriental tune are
added. An outmost beautiful end for a unique and refreshing take on
In the end, for a well accustomed
progressive rock listener (like I pretentiously and firmly believe I am), this
album slowly escalates its way up the “like” staircases until it reaches a
notorious place among the personal favourites of the year. It has happened to
me and can also happen to you, should you give it that chance. It is the
strange overall candid vibe mixed with the complex and ever changing musicality,
and the even more bizarre connection you start feeling with the music that will
lead you to that point.
I eagerly await the release of the next album, the conceptual “Fabric of Space Divine”, which I was lucky enough to have been exposed to the very early version (the skeleton, some years ago) and that I simply know will be the big event for Daymoon, and the definitive step to a wider recognition in the prog community. This is Daymoon’s inescapable faith.