Mini-Review Monday: Touchstone – “Oceans Of Time”

Touchstone Oceans Of Time

Touchstone – Oceans Of Time

Rating: 4 /5

Touchstone’s fourth studio album, Oceans Of Time, sees the UK band continue to home their signature prog rock sound. And when I say “prog rock,” I mean that in a rather broad way. Touchstone combine the edge and immediacy of hard rock with progressive tendencies, strong melodies, and vibrant keyboards to create music that’s colorful and unique. Vocalist Kim Seviour is pleasing to the ears. She’s a more reserved singer than I would have expected, especially for a band like Touchstone. She does, however, emphasize the melodic nature of Touchstone’s music with grace and vulnerability.

The personalities of each song on Oceans Of Time vary as greatly as song length. Bluesy melancholy (“Contact”), scintillating synth-rock with metallic riff hooks (“Flux”), Pink Floyd-like classic prog with a crunch (“Spirit Of The Age”), oscillation between the band’s soft and heavy sides (“Shadow’s End”) – Touchstone never repeat themselves musically, and that’s what makes their music all the more enjoyable. Long-time fans will also be delighted by “Solace 2013,” a rock-oriented re-imagining of the ambient ballad from Touchstone’s 2009 album Wintercoast.

I won’t compare Oceans Of Time to any of Touchstone’s previous albums, since I haven’t heard them in their entirety. But if you haven’t checked out this band before, Oceans Of Time is a good place to start. My only true critique on this album is that the songwriting quality drops off a little after “Flux,” the opening track. I sometimes get discouraged when a band puts the most salient track up front, then follows it up with other songs that don’t seize your attention right away. “Flux” is still far and away my favorite on Oceans Of Time, but I’ve grown to like the rest of the album through repeated listens and am happy for it.

Highlights: “Flux” (check it out below), “Contact,” “Solace 2013”

For fans of Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Anathema, Arjen Lucassen, Evanescence, and Halestorm

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Coming Soon: Next week’s edition of Mini-Review Monday will cover Elysion’s new album, Someplace Better.