Reviewed by Nuno on 17 Feb 2003
Comprised of previously unreleased tracks from the sessions of both fantastic RPWL albums: God has Failed and Trying to Kiss the Sun, Stock undoubtedly feels like a new album by this great German band, and a very good one to say the least.
Stock does join the two slightly different approaches of the band’s previous releases. If God has Failed was an obvious quality collage to the later sound of Pink Floyd, Trying to Kiss the Sun introduced a new notion of originality and the solidification of the band’s own sound. So in this collection you can find a bit of the two aforementioned “eras”, and a lot more as I will explain in the next lines…
The album opens with a killer track! Opel sounds just like a revised and fresh version of the late 60’s Pink Floyd psychedelic savvy, so it was no surprise when I realized this is a version of an original Syd Barrett song. Nevertheless it is done with such passion and precision that congratulations to RPWL are in order.
The way it is does make justice to the music of the band’s first album, with a distinct Floydish sound in which a keyboard solo that combines Tony Banks, Clive Nolan & Mark Kelly reminiscences enriches the final result.
The small Perceptual Response and Forgive Me / Part 1 are calm, melodic and totally enjoying interludes that present a Guilmourish guitar solo over a spacey landscape.
The long Gentle Art of Swimming is another winner and candidate to a future classic by this band. Again the Floydish influences are present but joined with a more psychedelic/spacey electronic sound that touches Porcupine Tree textures. Regardless the influences, the result stands much by its own, presenting a possible new orientation for this talented band.
Curiously, with Who do you think you are Stock takes a giant turn into a new type of structure and resulting sound. This track sounds just like if Klaatu would have just re-recorded their debut with a more contemporary sound. The naïf composition, the vocal games and Beatlesque feeling does justice to my previous paragraph. Nevertheless, RPWL had already done something similar in Trying to Kiss the Sun.
Sun in the Sky re-takes the healthy proximity to their British “cousins” Porcupine Tree. The incorporation of a female element in the choruses is extremely well succeeded.
The closing Forgive Me / Parts 2 & 3, though very personal and introspective, are bonus points to the album. The high notion of melody is presented in just the right measures to proportionate the listener with a calm feeling of warmth and wonder. The guitar solo in part 3 is absolutely delightful, as a mark that represents what the whole album has graced us with.
Closing arguments, this is just one of those albums that, regardless of the absence of technical fireworks and extremely complex architecture, gains the attention and affection of the listener by its gentle, absorbing and elegant musicality. And though these are tracks that were left out of the two previous albums, their quality is unquestionable. So it is with great conviction that I state RPWL as one of the great bands in contemporary melodic prog.