MOON HALO – Together Again (2022)
”Together Again” is the second album from MOON HALO, the progressive super-group featuring Iain Jennings (Mostly Autumn) keyboards, Marc Atkinson (Riversea) vocals, Dave Clements (Riversea) bass, Martin Ledger (Heather Findlay Band) guitars, Alex Cromarty (ex- Mostly Autumn / Riversea) drums and Anne-Marie Helder (Panic Room) additional vocals.
As happened with their exquisite debut CD, on “Together Again” the band are not afraid to produce a song-orientated release with a variety of styles rather than just sticking to a more traditional prog rock template, giving it an enjoyable crossover / mainstream appeal.
This is accessible and melodic prog-influenced music with emotional and heartfelt lyrics and some lovely and varied instrumentation.
On ”Together Again” the band have hit the motherlode, so to speak. This is, in my opinion, the best thing that Marc Atkinson has ever been involved in and just a wonderful release. Iain Jennings’ keyboard skills are consummate, Alex Cromarty and Dave Clements combine to deliver a rhythm section of the highest quality and Martin Ledger is on fire with his guitar.
All of this would be a moot point if the songwriting wasn’t up to scratch and, thankfully, on this album, it is properly top drawer. Opener ‘Light In The World’ gives a really upbeat start to the album, ‘Together Again’ is a really funky track where the keyboards have an excellent vibe to them, a properly grin inducing piece of music. ‘Embrace This Life’ is anthemic, moody and brilliant and makes it obvious, only three tracks in, that the band have delivered something special.
While the album may have been created by musicians with a progressive rock background, it isn’t what you’d necessarily call a prog album, it is just a great album where the music does the talking, led by Marc’s velvety smooth vocals.
That’s not to say that there isn’t seriousness to the music, take ‘If This Is All There Is’, a sombre, almost melancholy tale that is delivered perfectly. ‘We’ve Still Got Time’, an ultimately uplifting track that tells us that we shouldn’t give up and one that just bleeds wistful serenity. ‘Wasteland’ is a powerful statement underpinned by the excellent keyboards once again.
There’s a calm reassurance from the music that Moon Halo create, they are storytellers of great skill and class and musicians of no little skill, combine this and you get tracks like ‘Reconnected’, emotive and passionate and ultimately consoling.
Fancy a bit of ’80s style? ‘About Me And You’ has that brilliant piano note and wah-wah guitar that takes you back, it’s just a superb track and one of my favorites on the album, Marc once again proving he has the voice for any genre and Martin given free rein on a superb guitar solo.
The genuine, thoughtful feel of ‘Stories To Tell’ backs yet another elegant and impressive track and there’s a fluid grace to the funky, soul infused delight of ‘Back To Normality’.
‘It Was You’ has a childlike innocence and ‘Sandman Is Waiting’ a darker, more deliciously chaotic note. The album closes with the bluesy ‘Life Goes On’, an inspiring song that wears its heart on its sleeve and has an overarching deep south Americana soulful feel to it and is a perfect way to finish the album.
Moon Halo have created an album full of impressive, heartfelt songs that just leave a smile on your face. It is one of the best releases I’ve heard this year so far and one that the band should all be rightfully proud off.
Don’t be fooled by the progressive background of these impressive musicians: melodic rock & ’80s Rock& pop fans should give to this album a proper listen.
01 – Light In The World
02 – Together Again
03 – Embrace This Life
04 – If This Is All There Is
05 – We’ve Still Got Time
06 – Wasteland
07 – Reconnected
08 – About Me And You
09 – Stories To Tell
10 – Back To Normality
11 – It Was You
12 – The Sandman Is Waiting
13 – Life Goes On
Marc Atkinson: Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Iain Jennings: Keyboards and programming
David Clements: Bass Guitar (extra guitars & keys on #6)
Alex Cromarty: Drums
Martin Ledger: Guitars
Anne-Marie Helder: Additional Vocals