Review Summary: In many ways this is a very mature piece of work, layered and thoughtful with strong production. This is yet another album that proves that prog music is very much alive and well in Poland, and luckily their website can be read by those who prefer English
Retrospective is representing the young generation of Polish prog rock bands. The band has been active for about 7 years now; however, they've released only two full length albums: "Stolen Thoughts", that was released in 2008, and the newest album "Lost In Perception" released in 2012, and which this review will be about. It is also worth mentioning that the band released an EP "Spectrum Of The Green Morning" in 2007, which allowed them to gain recognition not only in Polish prog rock scene, but also worldwide.
"Lost In Perception" is an album which allows Retrospective to reach a wider audience. Music on this release is similar to hit rock songs on the radio, but not loosing the band's progressive nature. They perfectly combine these two musical worlds: popular and alternative.
Certainly the biggest step forward for this band was changing the label. "Stolen Thoughts" was released under polish label LYNX Music, and their latest album is signed with German label logo: Progressive Promotion Records, which the band was involved in 2011. It is quite possible that Retrospective's show at 5th Anniversary of Progressive Promotion Festival in Rüsselsheim impressed Oliver Wenzler - owner of PPR label.
Retrospective is a band consisting of six musicians, and that is a collective not to tear down. Yes - there was a little turbulence on the vocalist position, but now the formation is in the original configuration. Jakub Roszak is the singer, who has a very strong and rough vocalist but with great potential in his voice. Jakub's vocal delivery showcases influences from Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, and Eddie Veder of Pearl Jam. There are also two guitarists in the band: Maciej Klimek and Alan Szczepaniak. Their playing gives this music a perfect climate, though they are not often showing off with spectacular solos. Rhythm section is formed with Robert Kusik - drums, and Łukasz Marszałek, who plays bass. The sixth member and only woman in the band is Beata Łagoda , who plays keyboards, and also sings. As she sings, her delicate and melodic voice perfectly harmonizes with the lead singer.
"Lost In Perception" is a nine-track LP maintained in the art/prog rock genre. But as I said - there are compositions that can be successful hits. One of these is the song "Ocean Of A Little Thoughts", which is the shortest track on the album. This cheerful song, driven by a simple guitar riff has a great catchy chorus and a fantastic guitar solo. Certainly a song that will appeal to everyone. But the album also has some stronger, more metal-like parts like "Huge, Black Hole", which hits the listener with a heavy riff right from the begining.
Retrospective is taking influences from more highly acclaimed artists of similar style. The best example should be "Musical Land". This song is reminding me the music from "Thrak" by King Crimson. Guitar is reminiscent of Fripp's playing style from that time. There are a lot more references to legendary bands on this album. The longest track is "Swallow The Green Tones", it is about 10 minuts, and the begining of it reminds almost everyone the brilliant "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" by Pink Floyd. Later, however, the song turns into a great and inventive prog-composition, filled with very good ideas. Another amazing track is "Tommorow Will Change", which is a bit like the tip of the nature raised by Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" - expecially on the ending, and it mix it with a progressive metal style a'la Tool. "Lunch" is another excellent song, which concept is similar to "Riders On The Storm" from The Doors. There is a melodic bass line and simple percussion rhythm in the background creating some soothing sounds, and the guitars are playing fantastic melodic solos one by one. It's a big plus for musicians who dared to directly and openly refer to as big bands, but they are not copying their music at any moment. That's just my associations, which agree with several other listeners I know. Finally the song "The End Of The Winter Lethargy", which is a first single from "Lost In Perception" (you can find a music video on official Retrospective's YouTube channel). This is an opening track, which features the entire release in its entirety. It is both progressive and combative.
Retrospective released mature and thoughtful album. "Lost In Perception" is the essence of modern progressive rock, dressed in the most adorable form. I recommend reaching for that LP and checking it out. The album guarantees that every audition will make listener discover something new on it. This album does not have a very weak points, but there are some a bit weaker, like "Our Story Is Beginning Now". But they do not spoil the whole picture of "Lost In Perception". I recommend!