The Twenty Committee: A Lifeblood Psalm
Warm piano runs, imminent guitar riffs, and inviting vocal harmonies fill up The Twenty Committee‘s high-spirited A Lifeblood Psalm. With this record, The Twenty Committee has found a nice little alcove in the prog-rock genre to neatly tuck themselves into. Taking cues from classic prog-rockers Yes and cult heroes Spock’s Beard, the South Jersey band creates an atmosphere that combines both talent and accessibility.
A Lifeblood Psalm is one of the more welcoming progressive-rock albums in recent years. The opening track, aptly titled “Introduction,” serves up a series of mumbled voices, quickly overlapped by Langley’s rounded piano, a soft-string section, and his clear voice. It’s a swift moment, but it sets the record’s magnetic tone. On the enticing “Airtight,” the band uses quirky arrangements of windy guitar chords and tight harmonies to advance into a compact, energetic section. But no prog release would be complete without a song in different movements. Tracks five through nine comprise the different sections of “The Knowledge Enterprise,” which contains some of the album’s best moments. Whether it’s the catchy phrase in “Overture,” the wanking guitar solo in “With These Eyes,” or the descending bass in “Tonight,” all work together to give A Lifeblood Psalm definition and purpose.
If there’s one flaw to this record, it’s the restraint that the band shows at times. The flair and excess often associated with prog-rock is downplayed, which effectively holds this album back from its full potential. Despite the pure quality of vocalist Geoffrey Langley’s voice, he lacks aggression when it is needed. Even in “Finale,” where he showcases natural vocal acrobatics, the suppression is still felt. A Lifeblood Psalm feels like a sports car stuck in traffic — finely tuned, but underutilized. Nonetheless, it is a mature, committed release which hints at a promising future from The Twenty Committee.