Dave Kerzner writes prog songs with a pop sensibility. This is not to say you’ll be hearing his music on Top 40 Radio (and more’s the shame for it), but you’ll inevitably be humming along with his tunes within seconds of the first listen. On this, his third solo outing, he revisits his Alien mythology with concise, hard-hitting tunes in a manner hearkening back to his Sound of Contact tenure.
Another Lifetime begins proceedings in glorious style, with electric violinist Joe Deninzon adding colour and trading licks with guitar mainstay Fernando Perdomo. Drummer Marco Minnemann is particularly restrained until being unleashed in the final minute to powerful effect. Ghostwritten Fables sounds like a long-lost Robbie Robertson track from his eponymous solo album, elevated by Minnemann’s world music-influenced drumming. A Time In Your Mond begins with a Dodo/Lurker vibe, even tipping off the listener with the line “something lurking through a veiled disguise”. The chorus segues from the Genesis sound into full-on Pink Floyd courtesy of Durga McBroom’s background vocals, catchy and majestic.
For Granted is the best song on the album. Guest Steve Hackett adds guitar effects to a poignant ballad that achieves its power from the understated performances. Nick D’Virgilio is particularly sublime, never overplaying his hand, and pushing the dynamics for maximum effect. Here and Now, Part One flies on Deninzon’s violin/viola work over atmospheric spoken word contributions from, among others, Heather Findlay and the late David Longdon (DSOTM anyone?).
Better Life puts the vocals front and center. A good move, considering this is one of the strongest melodies on the disc. Former It Bites guitarist Francis Dunnery provides some tasteful licks to this track. Cannot Get It Back would be almost unnoticeable, it passes by so quickly, if not for D’Virgilio’s intriguing hi-hat/snare work.
Feels Like Home is yet another outstanding track with a killer chorus. Vocal contributions from Jon Davison lend a Yes-like feel to what is otherwise a patented heart-wrenching Kerzner power ballad. Here and Now, Part Two closes out the album on a Los Endos high. Bringing together the talents of D’Virgilio, Deninzon, Randy McStine, Matt Dorsey and Billy Sherwood along with regulars Perdomo and McBroom, it soars without ever showboating its league of A-list performers. Part Two bears only scant similarity to Part One, the common thread being the violin riffs supplied by Deninzon. Closing things out with the album-opening power chords, the disc comes full circle, spinning the Alien back into space.
The Traveler is Dave Kerzner’s finest work to date, which is saying something about a man whose resume is so stellar. A surprising departure from the epic Floydian grandeur of past works, The Traveler is at once a nod to the past and a road map for the future. I’m along for the journey.
01. Another Lifetime (4:55)
02. Ghostwritten Fables (6:09)
03. A Time in Your Mind (5:16)
04. For Granted (6:03)
05. Here and Now, Part One (2:00)
06. Better Life (5:08)
07. Cannot Get It Back (2:01)
08. Feels Like Home (5:34)
09. Here and Now, Part Two (4:53)
Total Time – 41:59
Dave Kerzner – Vocals, Keyboards, Acoustic Guitar, Drum Programming
Fernando Perdomo – Guitar, Bass
Francis Dunnery – Guitar
Randy McStine – Guitar
Nick D’Virgilio – Drums
Marco Minnemann – Drums
Alex Cromarty – Drums
Stuart Fletcher – Bass
Matt Dorsey – Bass
Billy Sherwood – Bass
Jon Davison – Vocals
Durga McBroom – Backing Vocals
Alex “Yatte” Chod – Backing Vocals
Joe Deninzon – Violins, Violas
Ruti Celli – Cello
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 10th July 2022