Gazpacho
Soyuz


3.5
great

Review

by JJKeys USER (22 Reviews)
May 21st, 2018 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Caught in orbit

Eyebrows hit the roof when Gazpacho themselves ask us to be patient when listening to their new record. In all fairness, they’re right in doing so.

Soyuz, the Norwegian art rock outfit’s tenth studio album, has slipped from the vice of an overarching narrative that has held their post-Night albums together so tightly. 2009’s Tick Tock heralded the adversities of Antoine de Saint-Exupery; 2014’s Demon spoke in whispers of satanic possession and 2015’s Molok threatened the very universe itself. Here, Soyuz is simply tied together by the idea of life’s fleetingness. You would assume Soyuz to be a rather modest addition then, given Gazpacho’s impressive history.

However, Soyuz doesn’t struggle in finding something to present to us – in fact, there’s too much the album tries to offer, and it takes a lot of patience to let it all sink in.

When the singles ‘Soyuz One’ and ‘Exit Suite’ were unveiled – I couldn’t believe it. I’ve dreamed of a Gazpacho record spun from electronic threads as long as I can remember; it’s lurked in the haze of Missa Atropos, but never before has Gazpacho dabbled in electronica to this extent. Their signature pensive, atmospheric and often bohemian rock is still as brilliant as ever; but it’s the synergy with the booming electronic percussion of ‘Fleeting Things’, ‘Soyuz One’ and its immensely satisfying reprisal in ‘Soyuz Out’ that are utterly fantastic – the latter even teases us with argeppiating synths that make me giddy.

However, therein lies the problem: ‘Soyuz Out’, and by extension Soyuz as a whole, teases us with interesting motifs and electronic sections, but never fully commits to them. The latter are used sparingly in ‘Hypomania’ and ‘Rappaccini’, and not at all in ‘Sky Burial’. Even the more progressive tracks, ‘Emperor Bespoke’ and the aforementioned ‘Soyuz Out’, are harder to fall in love with than ‘Hypomania’ or ‘Fleeting Things’ as, quite ironically, their motifs are fleeting. The lack of electronic moments in some tracks isn’t a deal breaker in and of itself, but their inconsistent use throughout the album highlights the erratic flow and aesthetic clashes of Soyuz.

Speaking of ‘Hypomania’: its existence is utterly bizarre. It’s an excellent track, one of the best on Soyuz, even, but ‘Hypomania’ would fit perfectly nestled between ‘California’ and ‘The Secret’ from Bravo – Gazpacho’s debut released a whole 15 years ago. The driving alt-rock riff; the catchy chorus offset by eerie verses; and the simple-yet-effective drums work brilliantly in isolation, but having ‘Hypomania’ sandwiched between the ominous ‘Soyuz One’ and ‘Exit Suite’ feels very jarring. Yet again, it’s another showcase of Soyuz’s lack of focus and flow.

The album’s consistent themes of transient life and isolationism do make up for the album’s musical mismatching. The death of lone astronaut Vladimir Komarov explored in ‘Soyuz One’ and ‘Soyuz Out’; Tibetan funeral rituals in ‘Sky Burial’ and the bittersweet fading memories in ‘Fleeting Things’ make for a Gazpacho record as dark as Demon. Though the fairy-tale of ‘Emperor Bespoke’ and the alt-rock aesthetic of ‘Hypomania’ subtracts from the album’s bleakness; the sombre lyrics twinned with the gentle strings and Jan-Henrik Ohme’s tender voice in ‘Rappaccini’, and their intensity in ‘Sky Burial’ are some of the album’s highlights. The attention to detail in the overall ambiance in each track, especially ‘Soyuz One’ and ‘Exit Suite’, is superb and some of Gazpacho’s finest yet.

Soyuz is an album at odds with itself. It wants to depart from Gazpacho’s previous concept albums, but wants to retain its prog aesthetic; it wants to dabble in electronic music, but then it abandons it; it wants to be dark and brooding, but then it drops ‘Hypomania’. This isn’t to say that the songs themselves are poor; most are excellent and by themselves trump those found in Molok. However, Soyuz’s parts are so aesthetically polarizing that the record makes for a disorientating listen, and I think Gazpacho knew this in asking for our patience.

Ultimately, Soyuz holds the potential for an excellent Gazpacho record, but it lacks the focus and coherency that made every single album they’ve put out since Night so compelling - and patience can only alleviate that so much.



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user ratings (43)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
JJKeys
May 21st 2018


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Obligatory self-shill: https://progandtalk.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/album-review-gazpacho-soyuz/

Album does grow on you, but not as much as I had hoped as the first listen was pretty disheartening - Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino is a stronger grower than this. The other recs are much more satisfying 2018 albums that have adopted electronic elements.

also inb4 pointing out boldtext

e210013
May 21st 2018


2167 Comments


Nice to see a review of this band here on Sputnik. Nice to see some love for this guys. Personally, I like very much of some of their stuff. Still, I don't know this album yet. But surely I must chech it, soon as I can. I'll read your review later. So, I'll tell you something later.

JJKeys
May 21st 2018


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Lmao ty - Gazpacho are one of my favourite bands and I'd love to see them live, but I gotta admit they ain't perfect in their output

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
May 21st 2018


18051 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Night is amazing and Tick Tock is really excellent too. Their 2010s output has been solid, with Demon being the only one that really impressed me (when I'm in a certain mood). Everything has been very good though, and I'm jamming this now and really enjoying it.





JJKeys your review is really nice, though I might just take out some of the Gazpachos in the second half to avoid redundancy.

Digging: Opeth - Garden of the Titans

JJKeys
May 21st 2018


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thanks Talon, and I inb4'd that so I'm immune to criticism :^) but yeah, I get you - thanks man

This is at a 3.3-3.4 for me, I imagine I'll be listening to the songs in isolation / if I shuffle their entire discog rather than as a full album in future

Dewinged
May 21st 2018


14303 Comments


Great to see a review of this here [2], nicely done JJ.

Still gotta hear the full thing, but I dug the little I heard.

Digging: Nivhek - After Its own Death/ Walking in a Spiral

JJKeys
May 22nd 2018


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Don't let the two singles fool you, the other tracks don't sound all too similar

Jethro42
May 22nd 2018


15595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

The singer has a still more plaintive tone than usual. I didn't think it was possible to do so. Album leaves me rather cold after couple of spins.

Flugmorph
May 22nd 2018


20650 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

is this sleep music?

Jethro42
May 22nd 2018


15595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wouldn't say so, but I guess the vocals are not for everyone, especially on this one, where we don't find a minimum of good melodies and music is rather linear overall. Start with both Nignt and Tick Tock, two classic albums reminiscent of Marillion at some point. Band never did a bad album onward. Soyuz is not a good place to start.

Flugmorph
May 22nd 2018


20650 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

i listened to their two previous albums and liked both

Jethro42
May 22nd 2018


15595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Demon is also a classic of theirs. For Molok, I've hesitated between a 3.5 or a 4, It depends of the mood I'm in, but it's stuck in a 3.5.

Flugmorph
May 22nd 2018


20650 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

ye demon is a 4 for me, molok a 3.5 also

Allergist
May 22nd 2018


392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty alright albim

GhostB1rd
May 22nd 2018


2596 Comments


This is named after a tomato based soup so out of principle I won't listen to it.

Sunnyvale
May 22nd 2018


934 Comments


Listening to Demon now, I'll have to check this out.

Dewinged
May 22nd 2018


14303 Comments


"This is named after a tomato based soup so out of principle I won't listen to it."

It is precisely a refreshing tomato and garlic based summer drink that goes great with olives and beer.

I hope this is refreshing too.

JJKeys
May 23rd 2018


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Arnold_Rimmer.jpg

BeyondCosby
May 23rd 2018


2385 Comments


The vocals are giving me a weird Muse vibe.

JJKeys
May 23rd 2018


1035 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I can see that in Hypomania, sure

also ty for the feat x



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