England's Touchstone makes a return to the studio with a new line up and a new four song EP, Lights From The Sky. New to the band are lead vocalist Aggie, who was born with no last name, and keyboard player Liam Holmes. Returning to Touchstone are Adam Hodgson (guitars), Henry Rogers (drums), and Paul Moorghen (bass, bgvs).
Musically, with Lights From The Sky, not much has changed for Touchstone. They still play melodic progressive rock touched with both symphonic embellishment and a bit of a metal edge. The lead vocals and vocal arrangements have also been a prominent feature. Vocalist Aggie has a strong melodic, often soaring, voice, easily carrying the melody of any song. The song arrangements, as you would expect, involve the integration and cooperation of each instrument. The expectation of flashy guitar solos are satisfied, but equally present and significant are the drum and bass lines, while Holmes adds the necessary synth color.
As for the songs, there are four: Fear, Tangled Lines, and the title track, which is in two versions, English and Polish. (I'm suspecting Aggie is Polish, but I found no evidence to support that proposition.) Lights From The Sky, in either version, lines more towards the melodic heavy rock side, with the whole song developing with subtle progression led by the vocals. Fear, for its name, has something of a more up beat, even bouncy, pop accessibility, and features a Holmes synth solo around three minutes. Tangled Lines arrives with brisk riffage in the lead and a simply heavier feeling, with Touchstone drawing from their melodic metal roots.
All in all, though significantly short, Lights From The Sky is a well-rounded EP of Touchstone's melodic progressive rock, and a fine re-introduction to the band and it's new members. If you're a fan, definitely get the album. Whether it's a foretaste of a coming new full-length album is not known at the writing of this article, but it seems a logical progression.
All in all, though significantly short, Lights From The Sky is a well-rounded EP of Touchstone's melodic progressive rock, and a fine re-introduction to the band and it's new members. If you're a fan, definitely get the album.
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