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Lalu: Paint The Sky
Lalu - Paint The Sky Album Art

Lalu: Paint The Sky

Progressive Rock
4.5/5.0

Lalu is Vivien Lalu, a man and musician who has some fine musical genes. His parents are Noelle and Michel Lalu from the 70's French progressive act Polène. Lalu formed his band 18 years ago and has two studio albums under his belt. Lalu himself has some exceptional cred having worked with Shadow Gallery, Lazlo Jones, and writing the soundtrack for the French caper film Seuls Two. Now Lalu and friends return with his third studio album, Paint The Sky, which features a host of prog luminaries. These include, naming a few, Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), Marco Sfogli (James LaBrie), Steve Walsh (Kansas), and Mike Andersson (Cloudscape). But Lalu's finest recruit for this album was vocalist Damian Wilson (Arena, Headspace, Threshold). I would probably buy any album where he's the primary vocalist.

Lalu - Click For Larger Image

Lalu

Lalu's progressive rock heritage informs his compositions. While not quite a throwback to the roots of neo-classical progressive rock, he definitely ventures into its rich history. But for Lalu his progressive rock is largely centers around his keyboards, from piano to synthesizers and more. Besides his on keyboard work, the songs include the same from keyboard gurus Jordan Rudess (The Chosen Ones), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Paint The Sky), and Jens Johansson on three songs: Paint The Sky, Lost In Conversation, and Won’t Rest Until The Heat Of The Earth Burns The Soles Of Our Feet Down To The Bone (Yes, that's the looong title). I'm not a huge fan of synth-centric music, but Lalu's song composition is creative and versatile which makes this album an intriguing listen. Conversely, if you can't stand keyboard-driven work, Paint The Sky will probably drive you batty. But Lalu is a wizard.

More of his compositional wizardry comes with poly-rhythmic grooves provided by the rhythmic section, notably within Reset To Preset, Emotionalized, and Witness To The World. Honestly, these songs are a drummer's dream-come-true if the love prog and want their technique stretched. If you like fine bass and drum work, you've got two of the best working here: Simon Phillips and Tony Franklin. While all these things are high caliber prog wonkery, I found myself attracted to songs more subtle or instrumental like Sweet Asylum, All Of The Lights, and Paint The Sky II, the closing number. All said, if you love keyboard-driven and quite creative melodic progressive rock, you will enjoy Vivien Lalu's Paint The Sky. Easily recommended.




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The Take Away

If you love keyboard-driven and quite creative melodic progressive rock, you will enjoy Vivien Lalu's Paint The Sky. Easily recommended.

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