First impressions are everything in this world. Whether it be a first date, that first job interview, or a band’s first album, that first impression makes all the difference in said person(s) future successes. In the case of prog-rock trio Sound of Contact, the band’s first impression in Dimensionaut is quite the first impression. Fronted by second generation rocker Simon Collins—son of Phil Collins—the band’s twelve-track concept album is one of the year’s most intriguing records. Being released via InsideOut Music, it also qualifies as one of the year’s best independent releases. Throughout the album’s sequencing, listeners are treated to a record that obviously draws from a number of influences. Those influences include the likes of: Porcupine Tree, Pink Floyd, and even his own dad’s former band, Genesis just to name a few. The thing of it is that the trio has taken those influences and made a record that improves on the sounds crafted by those bands. In turn, it becomes an album that stands out as a fully original and enjoyable listen from start to finish.
Dimensionaut offers listeners more interesting moments than can be listed in one sitting. So one will try to pinpoint just a sampling of what makes this album a success. Right off the bat, the band impresses on its short, acoustic opener, ‘Sound of Contact.’ The harmonies between Collins and band mates Dave Kerzner (keyboards, acoustic guitar, backing vocals) and Matt Dorsey (guitars, bass, backing vocals) are spot on. And the gentility of this opener makes it s perfect opener, as it leads to the surprise heaviness of ‘Cosmic Distance Ladder.’ Having gone from the gentility of the album’s opener, it serves a double purpose. On one hand, it makes for a solid transition within the context of this album. And keeping in mind the album’s overall concept, the song’s very title makes it all the more well-placed in the grand scheme of things. On another hand, it proves how effortlessly the band’s members can switch from the softer side of the prog world to the much heavier side of things.
‘Pale Blue Dot’, the album’s third song, is another highlight to Dimensionaut. This is one of those songs that openly draw from earlier prog bands, including that of Collins’ father. Strangely enough, if one allows one’s self to fully be immersed in this song, nowhere does he sound more like his legendary father. If one were listening to this song without knowing it was Simon Collins, one would very easily be led to believe that it was indeed Phil Collins. That is how close the father and son sound to one another. In terms of the song itself, it’s another well placed piece in the album’s overall layout. The album as a whole is about a being that can travel between time and space. The being’s journey is one meant to broaden the human experience. So it is only natural that early on in the being realizes how insignificant we are in the universe. The metaphor is used, comparing mankind to a “pale blue dot.” It’s a relatively good visual. And in partnership with the almost ethereal musical style, it stands out as one of the most incredible moments on this album. It is so easy to close one’s eyes, take in the music and really be able to visualize what the being in question must be experiencing at this point in the story.
The whole journey culminates in what can only be described as prog-rock at its best in the near twenty-minute epic, ‘Mobius Slip.’ The four-movement opus offers its share of heavy and soft from start to finish. Its ability to mix its more mainstream elements with material more appealing to prog-rock purists makes it the perfect ending to this musical and lyrically existential journey. Collins’ drumming is just as solid as his father’s, if not better. The musicianship of his band mates is just as expert as the epic eventually leads to a conclusion that wonderfully book ends the album, closing it just as it opened. By the time that the song ends, listeners will have realized that they have just experienced an album unlike anything that they have ever heard. And they will realize, too, that this is an album that proves the promise of Sound of Contact for the future. In the meantime, audiences will get to experience this journey live when the band hits the road in support of its debut. The band will perform at the famed Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood, California on Wednesday, August 21st. The trio will also be playing dates in San Diego, California, Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta, Georgia and more. Fans can get the band’s most current tour listings online at http://www.facebook.com/soundofcontact and the band’s official website, http://www.soundofcontact.com.
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