Friday, June 10, 2011

Music Review: Above and Beyond - Group Therapy

Music Review: Above and Beyond - Group Therapy

Baby you think you've heard good music, you ain't hear nothing yet. Above and Beyond have just dropped their follow up artist album Group Therapy and it's fantastic! Hold onto your hats, you're in for an exciting ride with this album.

You learned to fall in love with Above and Beyond when they released their debut album Tri-State, now learn to fall in love again. This release follows a similar, almost ethereal, trance sound as the last did. This time, however, it branches off into it's own unique path and redefines the talent that Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness, and Paavo Siljamäki possess and sets them firmly back into the spotlight. 

There is heavy temptation to refer and compare to Tri-State but that wouldn't be fair to either body of work because both are exception beacons of what is very right in the trance world at the moment.

If you did not understand the previous comment about how they can produce an almost ethereal track, listen to the opening track Filmic. It's a clever move on the band's behalf as it is almost misleading as to where the album itself will go. It's haunting and near spiritual with the serene beauty of the track.

Unsurprisingly, they do have vocal trance tracks on this album. Rather than polluting the album with a new singer for every track, they have used the same two the entire way through. Zoe Johnston has returned to add her stunning voice to five of the tracks which includes the outstanding highlight Giving It Out. The steady driving beat and up tempo make it easily one of the most enjoyable songs on the album. 

The other vocalist on the album is Richard Bedford. We've all heard the first song that was released off the album being Sun & Moon but don't take that as the penultimate song Bedford will be featured on. There's also the stunning track On My Way To Heaven which has an almost symphonic opening before ensnaring the senses and dragging them to the dancefloor.

Then, of course, there is the latest single Thing Called Love which is a strong reminder of just where Above and Beyond started. That's moving people on a dancefloor with heady beats and pulsing rhythms. If this track hasn't become a favourite at music festivals yet, you can't help but wonder why? This is trance. This is the track people want to dance to. This is the track that trance artists inspire to write.

For those who like pure trance track with just the steady beat that will get you moving, you haven't been forgotten. As mentioned, the album opens with Filmic but then you get halfway through the album and your senses will be blown open with Prelude. Don't worry, it's not a 15 second filler track that some artists do. This is sensory bliss that will have you amazed and moving your head in time up until midway through the song where the anthemic and symphonic music kicks and you can't help but raise your eyes towards the heavens in agreement. Just wait for the tribal chanting, you'll know beauty.

Closing out the album is the other instrumental track Eternal. It's a blended elegance between piano and eletronica. There's something spellbinding by this piece of work that you will listen to it repeatedly. It really is the perfect song to have as the final track on a release. It's serenity and beauty is seamless and just breath taking.

All in all, Above and Beyond make have taken 5 years to release this album but it's more than worth it. If more trance artists could follow in this group's footsteps, we would have any amazing world of dance music out there. This album is going to be a legacy. This album is going to get played for years to come, just like it's predecessor. This album will remind you why you fell in love with trance music. You want this album.

Group Therapy is out now through Ajunabeats Records

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