Review Summary: The spectre of fellow Canadians Rush looms large on some of the music but there are enough signs that the band are forging an identity of their own on this impressive debut release from Amusia.2 of 3 thought this review was well written
Amusia is a disorder that manifests itself mainly as perceived dissociations between rhythm, melody and emotional processing of music. It is also the name of a new four-piece progressive rock band that have appeared on the scene in Vancouver,Canada. 'Time Will Tell' is the band's self-produced debut release.
When the country of 'Canada' and the phrase 'prog rock' is used in the same sentence there is a pretty good chance that the word 'Rush' will appear somewhere in there. The legendary power trio are most certainly an influence on these fellow countrymen. The music of Amusia would be aptly described as heavy indie prog. There is a layer of accessibility to their music which may gel with the indie rock set but their prog sensibilities are quite apparent with the asymmetric time signatures, tempo changes and complicated rhythms that characterize the genre being evident throughout some of the arrangements. The Rush influence is most evident on the instrumental title track; after the first two minutes of volume pedal swells and cascading synth noises you might be forgiven for expecting to hear the toll of the tubular bell that heralds the arrival of the classic 'Xanadu'. One must assume that Amusia are merely paying a little tongue-in-cheek homage to their heroes as the song eventually takes on a character of its own with some bluesy soloing and syncopated rhythms before settling down with some excellent hard rock riffing backed by some tasteful Geddy'esque bass work.
Some of the shorter and more direct songs include the superb 'Steel String Cage' on which the band almost come across as a more accessible indie version of The Mars Volta. In fact vocalist Adrian Naqvi is indeed similar to Cedric Bixler-Zavala in his delivery although somewhat lower pitched and less acerbic. For such a new act Amusia show impressive maturity on some of the lengthier pieces such as 'Breathe Easy' and 'Crossfire' which hold together well and keep the listener interested due to the creativity inherent in the arrangements. Most notable is the excellent 'Pyre' with its intricate riffs and memorable choruses. The band do, however, become somewhat unstuck when attempting to create music with slower more introverted qualities. Prime examples of this are 'All We Are' and 'Cut the Rope' which fade into forgetability even after repeated listenings due to the lack of any real sense of atmosphere, melody or allure. However, these are very early days in the band's career and due to the quality on display elsewhere it is surely only a matter of time before they master this format.
Apart from a couple of relatively unsuccessful attempts to demonstrate the more reflective aspects of their repertoire this is a very solid debut release. The standard of musicianship is high throughout and Naqvi's appealing vocal style suits the music perfectly. There is a good balance of accessible indie prog alongside the more ambitious arrangements. Rush fans could certainly discover a lot to like within 'Time Will Tell' and also those with a liking for the heavier end of the indie rock spectrum might care to give it a listen. A very promising debut.