Dutch progressive outfit Summer Breeze Project – often shortened to SBP – complete their Contact “triptych” (their word, not mine) of EPs with Part 3, a single track lasting over 25 minutes, automatically making it longer than any song Yes ever recorded. Well done. But as the old adage goes “size doesn’t matter”. While the band promise in their press release that “you won’t be bored for a second,” this turns out to be a rather tall order.
I am not acquainted with Parts 1 or 2 of the Contact series, nor have they been reviewed on our website, but from the press release, it seems that each part is thematically quite different. Lyrically, this part deals with the emotions of remembering a long lost lover, with separate parts representing different feelings, happiness, sadness, regret, etc. It’s a neat idea, but the execution is about as staid and dull as you could get within the realms of progressive rock.
Without going into a list of everything that’s bad about this release, a few pointers must be made. Firstly, everyone involved seems to have a poor grasp of their instrument: even though the music is played at a ploddingly slow pace, I can still hear parts where the musicians aren’t in time with each other. The music and melody are unadventurous and uninteresting: the most technical part of the song is around the 10-minute mark, where the band collapse into an alternating pattern of 7/8 and 4/4, a very old prog trick. Even here the band don’t dare try anything exciting like a solo or an interesting fill, hoping the time signatures themselves will see the band through. The section is over in a minute and finishes abruptly. In fact, none of the section changes are really thought about carefully. I commented last year that Edge of Reality‘s extended track Into the Shadows had the structure of a great epic, which was largely to do with the well-thought-out section changes; SBP literally stick two sections together with no interlude – even the tempo changes abruptly!
Contact, Part 3 is the latest in a vast line of examples to prove that the long song format needs to be treated carefully. There are essentially around five sub-par rock tracks pasted together here with only the barest semblance of a suite. The themes, music, lyrics and singing are bland and forgettable, even though it’s clear that SBP were aiming to achieve an exciting progressive experience. It seems that the band should instead focus on their chilled-out side, and maybe explore post-rock, which is less reliant on technical ability. No offence, post-rock!
01. Contact – Part 3 (25:39)
Gert Bruins – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Gordon van Pelt – Guitars & Theremin
Rene Troostheiden – Drums, Drum Programming & Percussion
Fons Panneman – Keyboards, Piano, Hammond, Synths, Soundscapes & Backing Vocals
Jørgen de Jonge – Bass Guitars & Backing Vocals
Record Label: OINK Records
Country of Origin: The Netherlands
Date of Release: 13th January 2017