On the strength of two albums, recognition in their native UK and continental Europe, and appearances at several notable American prog festivals, Touchstone's acclaim and presence has been ascending quickly within the melodic genre. The Touchstone sound, while not particularly novel, blends elements of classic rock and metal with versatile, sometimes complex, arrangements in a melodic, sometimes symphonic, and often bombastic wrapper. The City Sleeps follows the formula, picking up where previous albums left off.
Founders and principal players Rob Cottingham (k,v) and Adam Hodgson (g), with female vocalist Kim Seviour, are at the forefront propelling both the band and the songs. Many of the arrangements are interplays between Cottingham's synthesizers, whether by atmosphere or solo, and Hodgson's guitar solos. Mostly the songs are grand and glorious, bold and bombastic, and so typical fare from Touchstone, especially the two longest tracks When Shadows Fall and The City Sleeps. For pure entertainment value the former is blissful and decadent. The latter slightly less so, but makes up the slack in being a tad more complex.
In between, there are moments of straight melodic hard rock (These Walls), diversity in composition and playfulness (Good Boy Psycho), and a slightly lighter side (Half Moon Meadow). It's hard to pinpoint moments where syrupy accessibility meet sophisticated ingenuity, but many songs come close. Ultimately, it doesn't matter because Touchstone's music lends to the indulgent, delicious, and savory side of melodic rock, not unlike digging into a rack of fall-off-the-bone, slow cooked, Kansas City baby back ribs. Just cue it up, crank it up, and enjoy. Recommended.
Touchstone's music lends to the indulgent, delicious, and savory side of melodic rock, not unlike digging a rack of fall-off-the-bone slow cooked Kansas City baby back ribs. Cue it up and enjoy.
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