As We Were is the sophomore release from Colorado-based Amalgam Effect. The band is heavily steeped in ’70s-era prog rock, and cites influences as diverse as J.S. Bach, John Cage, Jethro Tull, Iron Maiden, Rush, and Opeth. That isn’t to say that all those influences are obvious in the music, but this is a band that is not easily pigeon-holed. There is a great temptation to compare the sound to Jethro Tull due to the prominence of the flute, but that would be too limiting. There is a darkness and an edge that I don’t really hear in Jethro Tull in these songs.
This is a tricky album for me to talk about. There are really no songs that just stick out or that I find particularly noteworthy, but I still keep finding myself drawn to listening to it. There is an intriguing quality to the songs with the rhythmic shifts, the irregular vocal lines, the internal rhyming and alliteration of the lyrics, the formal structure, and the ease with which Amalgam Effect moves from flowing acoustic passages to ripping hard rock riffs.
One of the things about this band that really sticks out to me is the interplay between the instruments, particularly the flute and guitar. Sometimes it creates a parallelism that thickens the melodic texture of the music, and sometimes it is more contrapuntal, increasing the complexity of the melodic material. The musicianship of this band is truly outstanding.
All in all, I’d say this is an album definitely worth looking into, particularly if you are a fan of ’70s-era Kansas and Rush. It may take a few listens, but I think you will definitely enjoy it.
01. Identify (8:02)
02. Against the Grain (8:10)
03. Out of Time (6:06)
04. Generation Bridge (10:32)
05. The Smoking Remains (4:01)
06. To Be Another (8:13)
07. Lonesome Night (5:21)
08. Turning Cards (3:09)
09. Choose (3:20)
10. Dangerous Games (4:41)
11. Oil and Water (5:52)
12. Do You Remember? (8:10)
Total Time – 75:47
Matt Spivack – Vocals, Flute, Guitar, Keyboards (tracks 5-9)
Kody Little – Guitar, Vocals, Gypsy (track 8)
Chris Childress – Bass, Bass Synthesizers (tracks 1 & 12)
Calvin Merseal – Drums, Keyboards (tracks 2, 3, 6 & 10)
Bill Hussung – Keyboards (tracks 1, 4, 11 & 12)
Sadie Trigg – Vocals (tracks 10 & 11)
Record Label: Independent
Country of Origin: U.S.A.
Date of Release: 13th October 2017