DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION IV - Halcyon Hymns (2021) full

DOWNES BRAIDE ASSOCIATION, the unlikely duo formed by Yes / Asia keyboard icon Geoff Downes and pop hit-maker Chris Braide, have proven to be a worthy team over the last few years. The pair now return with their 4th studio album titled ”Halcyon Hymns”, out on Feb 5th.
The group’s sound had so far been rooted in rock&pop proggy melodic music with keyboards not surprisingly taking center stage. But here on their 4th outing, they shift their approach, relying largely on guitars and organic instrumentation and the results are exquisite.

On their previous albums, there have been songs that were the centerpieces on which the material was focused, mainly the title tracks, but on this one there is more of an underlying musical theme.
The material is more cohesive with the song sequencing and transitions working perfectly. Additionally, there is narration that appears throughout the album which also ties the material together, culminating in a larger spoken word section in the album’s longest track, the penultimate “Remembrance.”

However, simply put, it is the glorious and undeniable melodies that make this such a joy to listen to repeatedly.
Each song has a special hook that seems to sneak up on the listener. It is subtle but sublime. From the perfect acoustic opening single “Love Among the Ruins” to the upbeat rock&pop of “You Heart Will Find A Way” to the slightly prog-infused and perhaps the albums best track “Holding the Heavens”, you might find yourself humming these songs at various times, wondering how it got there.

Even the brief “Beachcombers” sounds like a track from the Rabin-era Yes years with it’s high-pitched backing vocals. “Today” is a touching piano ballad that yearns “I know it’s not a perfect world my love” yet offers optimism beautifully.
The Roger Dean artwork is notable as well, another brilliant touch to a great album, one that is immensely enjoyable and perfectly uplifting for these difficult times.
Highly Recommended


01 – Love Among The Ruins
02 – King Of The Sunset
03 – Your Heart Will Find The Way
04 – Holding The Heavens
05 – Beachcombers
06 – Warm Summer Sun
07 – Today
08 – Hymn To Darkness
09 – She’ll Be Riding Horses
10 – Late Summer
11 – Remembrance
12 – Epilogue

Chris Braide (The Producers) – lead vocals
Geoff Downes (Yes, Asia) – keyboards, vocals
Dave Bainbridge (Iona) – guitars
Ash Soan – drums
Andy Hodge – bass

Marc Almond (Soft Cell)
David Longdon (Big Big Train)
Barney Ashton-Bullock – Narration
Joe Catcheside, Elijah Braide, Sascha Braide – Backing vocals



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