Big Face is the third release from the neo-prog band The D-Project. The D-Project plays a form of classic neo-prog that is showcased by bright uplifting riffs that mark the sign of a great understanding of musicality within the group. Also, there is always a slight hint of Pink Floyd without their music, whether it is in the vocals or in the guitar riffs that are scattered throughout the album. Stéphane Desbiens and The D-Project have, over their past two albums and on this one, had the great opportunity to play with classic prog rockers from bands such as Dream Theater, The Flower Kings, and Echolyn. All this has been a great influence on Desbiens, who plays keyboards, and the rest of the band. On this album The D-Project is joined by Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), Bartek Kossowicz (Quidam), Claire Vézina, Lalle Larsson, Jack Lavoie, and Giovany Artega.
One thing about this album is the mixture of pop and prog. At times it can be very pop sounding such as on the track "So Low" and other times it is very progressive, like on "They". But even most of the pop sounding songs are enjoyable because The D-Project never strays too far from their progressive rock base. "They" is a great song that any fan of Pink Floyd would love as it almost sounds like them. On this track Stéphane Desbiens's voice sounds almost exactly like Roger Waters and the song features very Pink Floyd-like riffs accompanied by great sax playing by Giovany Artega. Giovany Artega is an awesome sax player and can really belt out his music, and that is shown both in "They" and on "Conspiracy" where he has a great jam session at the end with bassist Mathieu Gosselin, and guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Stéphane Desbiens's.
The orchestration throughout the album is fantastic especially on the more pop sounding track "Anger I & II". The violins on this track, played by Sandra Poulin and William Foy, are excellent as are the rest of the string instruments. Branching off into a more classic prog rock song, "Anger III" is a very Yes like track that offers up some great guitar playing that reminds me of Steve Howe's style. Perhaps the best song on the album is the title track, "Big Face", in which they travel more into a Pink Floyd type song. This song is by far the most progressive on the album, and that's mostly the reason why I like it so much. The only weak track on this album is "Don't Tell the Kids" which is way to pop sounding for me. But, this is coming from a prog fanatic, so if you like pop songs then you might like this track. "Poussière de lumière" is sung totally in French by Claire Vézina and because of that it adds a much more eclectic taste to the album.
Overall Big Face is a hit for me and I'm sure lots of prog fans around the world will enjoy it as much as I have. The good thing about the combination of both Pink Floyd-like prog and pop on this album is that for casual listens it will be easier to listen to but still please hard core prog fans such as myself. This album definitely deserves 4.5 stars. Brian Block SOT