Progressive rock can offer a conundrum of possibilities. It's at once interesting and enjoyable to listen to, but often difficult to describe or explain by way of review. Stockholm based prog rock duo Under The Psycamore and their debut disc I can seem this way at first when it's really not.
UtP has been at their craft since 1985, but only now have they released their first album. They were discovered by Trey Gunn (King Crimson, David Sylvian, Robert Fripp) when he was researching web site design. (The UtP site is very nice.) Listening to I, I can hear why their music intrigued Gunn.
Under The Psycamore has an ethereal and atmospheric, subtle and sometimes psychedelic, sound reminiscent of Seventies prog. Yet, they also have a contemporary flavor as well, like a mash up of Porcupine Tree, subdued Muse, and recent Road Salt Pain of Salvation. Early on, this album comes across as quiet and reserved with guitar parts and vocal harmonies establishing a gentle flowing current. Yet, the songs, like The Gatherer, begin get lively, almost rambunctious, within the quiet flow. Amalthea does likewise, with bursts of chord barrages like solar flares on the surface of the sun. By now, you realize that UtP is upping the ante and invigorating the songs with a heavier strength; Garmonbozia is the apex of this, while the closer Remember Me starts dialing it down and returning to the gentleness of the earlier half.
I is intriguing listen, and one that takes repeated spins to appreciate. It's a fine debut for Under The Psycamore.