Lucky Singh Triple Album Review
by Dylan Edwards
I am a busy guy these days and my lack of free time has made me a cranky one as well. Anything that may seemingly waste my limited leisure is something to be damned to the darkest recesses of hell. So when I was presented with the opportunity to review an album for Rock n Roll View I accepted half-heartedly, knowing I would have to devote at the least a modicum of attention to the material. Imagine my elation whenever I opened the promotional package and found that in fact it was three albums instead of one. Lucky Singh set about the adventurous endeavor of a “triple” album release in an attempt to corner multiple markets with targeted material.
With total disregard to the accompanying descriptions of each album I listened to the CDs successively in no particular order. The album I listened to first was 7. I was delighted to find the opening track to be reminiscent of Steve Morse. The guitar work was phenomenal with harmonized unison leads dropping off into face melting guitar solos. My opinion of Lucky Singh was sealed almost immediately. Throughout this effort I found more things to praise than criticize, so I no longer languished at the prospect of “wasted” time. Listening to skilled musicianship and thoughtful arranging could never be a waste of one’s time.
Unison fills not unlike those used by Rush are scattered throughout several tracks of 7, and at times the progressive mayhem and shredding guitar seem almost too much to take. But at these exact moments the direction of a song will change at the drop of a dime as if Lucky Singh is all to aware of critical timing. This effort is definitely a musician’s album (Track 7 entitled “Mystic 7” is in 7/4, ha). “Delta Jam” features an actual reggae and not the dub-style reggae novices espouse as the real thing. “Off the Cuff” wanders from the progressive shred to show off a blues sensibility along the vein of Hendrix or SRV, and the country/prog hybrid of Amalgamation is simultaneously original and tasteful.
My early mental picture of Lucky Singh was of a progressive, musically innovative, guitar shredder throw back (something I’ve grown fond of over the past few years). That made the next album somewhat disappointing. “Tokyo Rules” was not my favorite of the three to say the least. It seemed incongruous with the other two albums. “Tokyo Rules” was definitely an effort at pop/rock but came across as stilted and generic, although a few gems stood out from the rough. Ja-Ne, Chinatsuo, Dreams, Supernova, and Tokyo Rules had memorable melodies and colorful palettes that made up for the predictable “mainstream” arrangements. The majority of the aforementioned tracks are love songs with a pseudo-ballad feel. If pop/rock is the avenue Lucky Singh wishes to pursue it should definitely stay within this songwriting vein. Yet I would advise they travel down the path created by the Juggernaut that is “Project 8105.”
“Project 8105” would fall somewhere between Dream Theatre and Mastodon within the progressive metal continuum. The album has the musical ingenuity and chops of a mature and time-tested progressive metal band, but it also has the creativity and energy of something new. Of all three albums “Project 8105” is the best produced, with a slick consistent sound. “Project 8105” shows the heart of Lucky Singh with an attention to detail far beyond the other albums. The spoken word narrative takes absolutely nothing away from the music and vice versa. This was not only a well conceived but also a well executed endeavor. I believe this is the album from the triple release that will stay in the minds of listeners. “7” hinted at the possibility of something more, but “Project 8105” turned out to be that something more. “Project 8105” is consistent from beginning to end. Progressive metal is the niche where Lucky Singh belongs. In this writer’s humble opinion this album debut should belong solely to “Project 8105.” Definitely give Lucky Singh a try, and pay close attention to “Project 8105.” You won’t regret it.
For more on Lucky Singh and this triple album release visit Lucky Singh Online (www.luckysinghonline.com)