In 2011 I had an opportunity to review Estonian multi-instrumentalist Indrek Patte's impressive solo album "Celebration". The recording was indeed a 'celebration' of both neo-progressive rock and an affirmation of Patte's uplifting Christian ideals. And while the album was a satisfying musical revelation, and the performances were indeed spirited, my main critique was that the material lacked originality - oftentimes sounding a bit too much like existing bands. As well as fragments of material which sounded a bit to familiar. Suggesting that if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Patte might be taking flattery to the extreme.
I'm delighted to report that much of that problem seems to be rectified on his 2014 follow-up "Thank And Share".
The transition period between "Celebration" and "Thank And Share" has seen Patte mature and refine his songwriting skills to the next level - carving his own unique niche in the progressive rock genre and establishing an definable style while still assimilating the finer points of bands like YES, Genesis, ELP, and Gentle Giant.
Once again, as on his album "Celebration", the lyrics of "Thank And Share" extol Patte's spirituality and unfaltering belief in God, Christianity, and the hereafter. The message in the music is positive and uplifting without being preachy.
The line-up for "Thank And Share" includes: Indrek Patte (vocals, background vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitars, 12 string guitars, mandolin, drum composing, music arrangements), Vladislav Reinfeldt (guitars, bass), Raul Jaanson (guitars), Kale Vilpuu (guitars), Hendrik Soon (violin), Priidik Soon (cello), Robert Jurjendal (nylon string guitar, e-bow, 12 string guitar), Andrus Lillepea (drums, percussion), and Juri Mazurtshak (drums).
Pulling out individual tracks to highlight is pretty tough since there is not a weak track on the album. "Thank And Share" is chock-full of those sprawling grandiose prog epics that first attracted me to the genre. The overall execution is near perfection with high marks for musical composition, beautifully textured arrangements, skilled musicianship, and expert studio production which makes for a great headphone album.
"Dance In Livland" harkens back to the classic YES albums "Close to The Edge" and "Tales Of Topographic Oceans", as Patte's fingers dance across the keyboard echoing those memorable MiniMoog solos by Rick Wakeman.
Further references can be made to the YES family lineage on Patte's track "The Servant Soul", which might well have been recorded by Jon Anderson for his solo album "Olias Of Sunhillow". Another album which comes to mind when listening to "The Servant Soul" is the 2013 release "Tales From Sheepfather's Grove" from Johannes Luley.
"Light Ship" and "Heaven's Truth" are great cross-over power rockers in the vein of early Asia.
"Promises" is a high energy flashback to the MTV music video era of arena rocker likes Van Halen, Europe, Magnum, and Def Leppard.
The sole instrumental track "In Memories", is a stark melancholy tune with a haunting cinematic quality. It tugs at the soul with the emotional pull of Samuel Barber's "Adagio For Strings". Should appeal to fans of filmscore composers like John Carpenter or the Italian band Goblin.
"Thank And Share" is Highly recommended to aficionados of symphonic, neo, and cross-over progressive rock. Similar bands include: YES, Flash, Genesis, Marillion, Transatlantic, Grey Lady Down, Gentle Giant, Asia, IQ, Arena, Kansas, The Flower Kings, and Neal Morse.
Reviewed by Joseph Shingler on March 15th, 2015