RPWL have been around for some seventeen years now, and have released six studio albums (including this one), three live albums, two of which were also available as DVDs and have two compilations to their name. So there is little, or no, excuse for me not to be conversant with their material, but to my shame I’m not. I recently received a copy of the A Show Beyond Man And Time [Live DVD], but again failed, initially, to listen with any great fervour and although over the years I have heard several tracks, Wanted is my first in-depth listen to the music of the band. So suffice to say I won’t be offering comparisons as to how this fairs against previous albums or offering any in depth background.
This said I’m sure most will be aware of the origins of the band and its’ name. RPWL these days have a different line-up with only W & L remaining from the early formation, however I can tell you that the line-up on Wanted is the same as Beyond Man And Time and subsequent live releases. And finally before moving on to the music, mention that Wanted, like its predecessor, has a rather weighty concept behind it.
“RPWL tell of the hero of two worlds, Giuseppe Garibaldi who, being a tremendous admirer of the Greek antiquity became aware of a scroll of Plato’s in which he analyzes the work of Hippocrates. It can be read in Garibaldi’s diaries that Hippocrates had in fact found the formula for a medicine that leads the spirit into a real and absolute world, free of all illusion and invisible ghost worlds. The question, however, that inevitable arises at that point is the following: is the human race ready for what Plato called the “gift of absolute freedom?”
The album opens with Revelation, a hypnotic, percussive instrumental, which develops nicely as other parts are added to good effect. Half way through the mood changes, firstly with the mellotron and then with the addition of the swirling Hammond, our first taster of the Floydian influence. The track then returns to its more percussive beginnings, albeit in a more aggressive beast. A pumping bass line and marching feat take us straight into Swords And Guns. An infectious track with a memorable chorus line and in the spirit of some of the stronger end of the 80s/90s pop market. Cards on the table and on the first run through, by this point I was thinking good band, but perhaps not one for me. This opinion was to change the more I listened to Wanted and initially triggered by the solo section that comes in just past the halfway mark in Swords And Guns. I’m assuming this is performed by Yogi Lang? I great Moog sound, nice atmosphere and very reminiscent of Manfred Mann. We could be onto a winner here…
Sadly no solo in the single version…
A Short Cut Line is a brief atmospheric instrumental with spoken word. Having recently watched the A Show Beyond Man And Time DVD, I can imagine that the band have envisaged a visual element for this piece. As the track fades a percussive element returns which in turn segues into the title track. Wanted is another track that brought those 80s/90s pop/rock songs back to mind. Kalle Wallner’s guitar invoking U2’s Edge, although Yogi Lang’s voice was far more pleasing on the ears than Bono’s.
As we move to the middle section of the album there’s a trio of songs that struck the right chord with this reviewer. The acoustic opening of Hide And Seek features Yogi Lang’s warm and pleasant delivery combined with vocal references to Roger Waters. The rocky middle section however conjures more early Uriah Heep or Manfred Mann. Again a nifty keyboard solo and some nice work from the rhythm section of Marc Turiaux and Werner Taus. Things heavy up even further with the grungy riff that opens Disbelief, followed by what appears to be becoming a trademark with RPWL a middle section that changes direction. Here with the gentle organ and rich vocals we’re definitely were moving into Pink Floyd territory. Last in this middle section of the album is the excellent Misguided Thought. A distinctly Floydian track swirling Hammond, lush vocal harmonies and had I needed any confirmation of Kalle Wallner’s abilities as a guitarist, then this track would have sufficed.
Wanted is replete with catchy hooklines and memorable sections, however should the band have wanted to take a first single from the album, then Perfect Day would be a strong candidate. Complete with sequenced keyboards, precise drumming, pumping bass, that delayed guitar and strong choruses. The Attack on the other hand is a different beast all together. A plodding rhythm, industrial beat, growling bass, grungy guitar neatly topped with solid vocal line. Reminiscent of King Crimson throughout the verses, whilst the chorus sections invoke PF as they are catchy, and act as a pleasant contrast to the edgy sound during the verses. With a running time of a little over eleven minutes there’s a time for The Attack to explore different territories – which it does and to great effect…
All that remains is the closing track and perhaps a second single? Opening with delicate guitar, vocals and the now anticipated, infectious chorus. Fans of Dave Gilmour’s solo work would do well to check out A New Dawn. In a live setting you can almost envisage the lighters aloft (or is it iPhones these days). Fantastic ending to a very enjoyable release.
Perhaps put off in the past by reading too many reviews referencing RPWL as some sort of Pink Floyd pastiche, not that I have any problems with Floyd, but more with bands who try to sound like them, however based on what I’ve heard on Wanted and the previous release, I feel this does the band a great injustice. There’s no denying that Floyd have and are a strong influence on the music of RPWL, however based on this album and the A Show Beyond Man And Time CD/DVD, this is a band that have carved out their own, rather unique sound.
I can imagine this might not be an album for all, but certainly one for those who enjoy a strong melodic strain to their prog and not averse to it having a firm foot in the commercial market. This said there’s no denying that RPWL have some strong progressive roots which emerge across the whole album. Their use of space and atmospherics is well thought out, as is the inclusion of sequencing and sampled sounds. I for one enjoyed Wanted greatly and will be listening to this release often in the future. I am also in the process of tracking down more of RPWLs back catalogue. A nice discovery, albeit belated…
01. Revelation (5:18)
02. Swords And Guns (8:43)
03. A Short Cut Line (2:57)
04. Wanted (4:29)
05. Hide And Seek (5:09)
06. Disbelief (6:11)
07. Misguided Thought (6:08)
08. Perfect Day (6:19)
09. The Attack (11:08)
10. A New Dawn (5:35)
Total Time – 61:53
Yogi Lang – Vocals & Keyboards
Kalle Wallner – Guitar & Vocals
Marc Turiaux – Drums
Markus Jehle – Keyboards
Werner Taus – Bass
Record Label: Gentle Art Of Music (GAOM)
Catalogue#: GAOM 022
Release: 14th March 2014
A Show Beyond Man And Time [Live CD] (2013)
A Show Beyond Man And Time [Live DVD] (2013)
Beyond Man And Time (2012)
The Gentle Art Of Music [2CD Compilation] (2010)
The RPWL Experience [Live CD] (2009)
The RPWL Experience [Live DVD] (2009)
The RPWL Experience (2008)
Start The Fire [Live CD] (2005)
World Through My Eyes (2005)
Stock [Compilation] (2003)
Trying To Kiss The Sun (2002)
God Has Failed (2000)