Hostsonaten, "Springsong" (Sublime) I was initially very excited about this CD after reading the liner notes for it and seeing that one song included an audio clip from Zerkalo(The Mirror), an excellent film by the truly brilliant Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. After listening to Springsong, I determined that Tarkovsky was an excellent point of comparison only in surface features. Like Tarkovsky's greatest films, Springsong is meandering, sometimes apparently directionless, tends to sustain certain moods for what seems like long periods of time without change, and is polished and precise in every detail. However, Hostsonaten don't have a whole lot going on under this surface, while Tarkovsky, obviously, does. Springsong contains moments of true beauty, such as the simple, PFM-like flute theme that reappears several times, but much of the CD is simply too much of the same lushly produced instrumental prog-rock. Needlessly to say, the mood of the music itself is far removed from the austere beauty of Tarkovsky's films (even without being able to understand what's being said in the film clip, the mere sound of the speaker's voice seems completely out-of-place in Hostsonaten's music). Although they incorporate some very Italian touches (and despite the Scandinavian name they are indeed Italian), the main base the group seems to be working off of is Camel's excellent The Snow Goose. I have a feeling many Camel fans will find something to like in the Latimer-like soaring guitar leads, though I think they're sometimes a bit too over the top. There are also quite a few Celtic touches thrown in, mostly in a 'Celtic-lite' vein that slightly offends me as a person of Irish ancestry. But I have to admit, Celtic stylings do pay off in the majestic finale of the album's closing epic. Like many of the albums I've reviewed at EER, Hostsonaten have potential but need more focus. Beautiful melodies and excellent structuring only peek out occasionally from the wash of nice but unremarkable material, but they are definitely there. They aren't up to taking on the vaguely similar-sounding Finisterre as the new kings of Italian symphonic prog yet, but one day, who knows? ~ Adam Murphree
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