Published on 22nd February 2016
Diatessaron – Sunshine
An unusual name. Meaning? The harmonisation of the four gospels into one single coherent narrative. Oh dear. Oh well, if we are all sitting comfortably let us begin.
I started this review months ago, but this time I will go All The Way. This track is quite a poppy opener, light and fluffy but not bad, with Fergal Sharkey type vocals. It will be to some fine; to others unlistenable. Light and fluffy. Not a bad opener. The drums of Stephan Bots provide it with quite a sixties vibe.
DeExister is a little more in the prog spectrum with interesting spiritual lyrics. To paraphrase, a record follows a groove, a path that it must always follow. Surreal in many ways, it is certainly different with its feedback echoes and loops as a bridge. I can’t say I dislike it but I may tire after a few listens. The switch from In The End into Sky Blue is not a smooth transition, the latter using Yes-like chops, but probably in keys that Yes would not use. Nice guitars on this in both the solo and the rhythm but I wonder if they are perhaps too clever, I heard five changes of direction in this song during its five minutes, which is probably two too many.
The Place Where The Sun Never Sets, at just under four minutes, has a structure that feels and sounds right, the easiest track to hear so far. This is quite a challenging album, there is good and bad in that. It requires time, no interruptions with, ideally, a good system to listen through. My gut feeling is that the changes are, at times, simply to establish their prog credentials rather than to form a coherent narrative for the song.
The Hummingbird is fast moving but again, for me, there are far too many changes in such a short space of time. I think that is my problem with it – and it is my problem – a rhythm starts and just as you settle, relaxing and enjoying, the direction changes. It is quite disconcerting, not music for pleasure.
Sunshine in all its forms colours the next few tracks. This is by far the best passage of music for me, each of the little vignettes seem to have both place and structure, from the opening chorale through Sunshine: 1. Sunshine and on to part II, The Horizon; there is a little touch of the Green Day about it.
None of this lacks technical musical ability, they are obviously a band with some talent. It in many ways underlines the difference between a text message and a conversation. This is a text; it feeds me little bits of information and can indeed make me smile, but I don’t think I am getting the whole picture. Sunshine: III. Never Ends (this is the title, not a desperate plea) benefits from the female vocal acting as a counterpoint to Simon TJ’s lead vocals, and this is where it has worked best for me, genuinely my favourite piece on the whole album.
Moonshine is “a diamond in the rough” (their words not mine) finishing off the album with a very nice tune, and is my second favourite track on what has, for me, been a difficult album. When they don’t try to whack as many changes, odd chords and time signatures into a single song they produce some very nice music. Now comes the pay off: would I buy the album? Probably not, there are just too many “busy” bits when I have just settled for one rhythm and style. It might grow on me but there are other things I would readily listen to. I enjoyed the lead vocal, although I can see that for some it might be a love/hate aspect in the way that, for example, Geddy Lee’s voice gives to some but not others. When Diatessaron maintain structure the songs are really quite good, such as Sunshine and Moonshine, but whilst clever, Sky Blue and the others just don’t hold my attention. Sorry guys.
I’m sure Diatessaron have a fan base and those that love them… it’s all about choice in the end. I will revisit this album sometime, perhaps on another day, or if another album appears to see how they develop.
01. All the Way (3:33)
02. DeExister (6:06)
03. Sky Blue (4:30)
04. In the End (5:02)
05. The Place Where the Sun Never Sets (3:59)
06. The Hummingbird (5:21)
07. Sunshine Chorale (0:46)
08. Sunshine: I. Sunshine (4:52)
09. Sunshine: II. The Horizon (6:55)
10. Sunshine: III. Never Ends (8:06)
11. Moonshine (4:59)
Total Time – 54:09
Simon TJ – Vocals
Darren Young – Guitar
Carl Janzen – Guitar
Stephan Bots – Drums
Erik Smistad – Bass
Record Label: n/a
Country of Origin: Canada
Date of Release: 11th September, 2015