Chain Reaktor – Homesick (2021)
Keyboardist/singer Erik Laan is not only a very experienced and gifted musician but also the father of a number of very talented sons. It is clear that something has ended up in the genes of these young guys because they really play fantastic. The debut of Chain Reaktor, good name by the way, contains seven beautiful tracks that are full of variety. Contrasting with the dazzling keyboard playing of the paterfamilias is the wonderful guitar work of son Bart. He plays the most beautiful solos that can be both howling and heavy and fills the entire album with tasteful chords and certainly plays at the same level as daddy. And fotunately he does not try to play hundereds of notes per minute to prove he is a great talent. Another son, Arjan, takes care of the percussion and does this so nice and tight but still swinging that a top performance is also delivered here. Bassist Mark op den Berg completes the picture and provides just the right support for the others. My expectations were quite high, but this album really surpasses everything. From opener The Day That Never Came, a more than ten minute journey through everything that makes music so special, it is clear that the “Laantjes” know how to play catchy, modern prog rock that is heavy here and there but never real metal. The vocals are delivered by Erik and Bart and that might be a point of discussion. Personally, I really like their voices and I really like the vocals, but for those who like abrasive rock voices with an edge, the vocals might be a bit too flat. The harmony vocals are beautiful and the excellent and the full production leaves room for all instruments without the vocals drowning in a wall of sound. As a big fan of Silhouette's music, I honestly didn't expect that this album would suit me even better. There is no filler on this record and fortunately the time is taken to develop a composition into a complete whole. In two songs guest musician Martin Streckfuss plays along on saxophone and that's a slight problem for me, I don't like horns and brass instruments. He plays fine and not too chaotic but for me I can do without but I know that there will also be many people who will find this an addition. Taste issue. Despite the above, the title track Homesick is of great quality and Bart's nice long guitar solo is a real treat. The somewhat lower tempo in this track is chosen correctly and forms a nice contrast with the more uptempo The Lying King. Gosh, what could this song be about. A grand and quite spicy climax forms the end of this wonderful song. As expected, we don't have to worry about the keyboard work, threatening, floating and with swirling solos it is the backbone of the music on this album. As you can tell I'm quite enthusiastic about this album, in fact I'm going to make a bold statement. Homesick is currently my favorite Dutch record ever. Really? And what about all those other great bands from our homeland? Sorry, I just think this is really good and it fits my personal taste perfectly. How difficult it will be to reach the same level with a next album, let alone surpass it. We will see. Confidence is high and for now I am thoroughly enjoying this debut. Come on guys from Silhouette, pick up the gauntlet and make me change my mind again. But for now, my number one of this year!