Retreat from MoscowThe World As We Knew It (2022)


As I write this review I realize how the chosen band name and the cover of this CD can give a sour taste in view of the current developments in Ukraine. The world as we know it is constantly changing and the boundaries on the map do not always change for the better. Of course this group from Wales will not have thought for a moment about current events, but you can detect some melancholy when you listen to the lyrics on this album. Retreat from Moscow was a totally unknown band to me, but apparently they were quite active in the southern regions of the U.K. in the early eighties. Andrew Raymond and John Harris both play guitar and keyboards and are responsible for the vocals, the latter mostly as lead singer. Greg Haver is the drummer and the bassplayer is Tony Lewis, both of whom were already involved in the band's inception. A thorough rhythm section without too much fuss. The music on The World As We Knew It is, according to the information provided, a combination of older and newly added songs. You can hear this and that makes this album an album with two faces. There are wonderfully lingering songs on it, but also some smoother, simpler and therefore less appealing songs. A total of eleven songs that together make up for an hour of music. Opener The Ones You Left Behind shows a clear retro sound and this song fits perfectly in the time when bands such as Pallas started to gain some recognition. Nothing new but nice. Nice guitar solo too. The vocals are fine, never disturb anywhere but won’t let you sit on the edge of your seat either. The following Radiation, could it be in the name, is such a smooth four minute track that doesn't touch me at all. As is so often the case, it is the longer songs where the band shows its strongest side and the best example is the eleven minutes long Home where the atmosphere is apparent. I do hear some similarities with Camel here and there. Don't expect powerhouse and gallery play, but well-made neoprog. Constantinople starts acoustically and as the title suggests it is about faded glory, geographically and relationship-technically, and here text and music are in harmony with two contrasting guitar solos opening up a somewhat heavier piece halfway through. A title like Armed Combat is very appropriate in the light of the above developments and has a kind of funky rhythm guitar that I'm not too fond of. It is clear that quality is offered, but with the handbrake on, by which I don't mean that the pace has to be increased, but the intensity and urgency may be felt more. A beautiful song like Don't Look Back for instance could have been a bit more exciting, but it is a wonderful listen. If you want to relax for an hour, this is a nice soundtrack with the occasional pinprick.