Steve Rothery is a founder member of UK prog legends Marillion. ‘The Ghosts of Pripyat’ is his first proper solo outing, discounting his work with The Wishing Tree. Rothery is ably assisted on this recording by his fellow guitarist Dave Foster, a rhythm section of Leon Parr on drums and bassist Yatim Halimi, and Riccardo Romano on keys. This entirely instrumental offering begins with 'Morpheus', which features a guest appearance from prog elder statesman, Steve Hackett. The track has a slow relaxed, ambient feel to it and contains a brief piano break reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby & The Range. The second track, 'Kendris' is a little more up-tempo and has a slightly middle-eastern quality, perhaps inspired by 'Gaza' from Marillion's latest studio release.
Next up is the centre piece of this release, the magnificently atmospheric 'The Old Man of the Sea'. The aquatic title is evoked by sounds of whale song and crashing waves, with an intro that has a production redolent of William Orbit's classical work. The track is just under 12 minutes long and showcases not only the talent of Rothery himself, but also Hackett for his second guest spot, and Steven Wilson, the much in demand prog guru. The fourth cut, 'White Pass', is carried along by a hypnotically insistent percussive riff before an increase in tempo midway through and a heavier guitar presence. 'Yesterday's Hero' follows a similar pattern to its predecessor, with the guitar solo in this piece probably the heaviest moment on the album.
The penultimate track, 'Summer's End', has a slow, easy feel to begin with, perhaps evocative of the time of year suggested by the title. However, the band build towards a crescendo, culminating in a searing solo from Rothery. Finally, we are presented with the title track which, at 5 and a half minutes, is the shortest offering on this release. Again, the atmosphere builds slowly in the first third of the track before picking up and becoming quite rocky at its climax.
Overall, this is not an album for setting the pulse racing or the blood pumping. Rather, it is perfect for dimming the lights, putting your headphones on and enjoying a glass (or two!) or your favourite tipple while absorbing the wonderful sounds and textures that Rothery weaves with the fluidly soaring, Gilmour-esque tones of his guitar. Some musicians, perhaps due to their quiet natures and their desire to avoid the limelight, do not garner the praise and recognition that they deserve. I feel Steve Rothery is once such artist but perhaps this superbly emotive and heartfelt release will go some way to changing that.
THE GHOSTS OF PRIPYAT
Review by Dave Uphill
22nd Sept 2014
3) The Old Man of the Sea
4) White Pass
5) Yesterday's Hero
6) Summer's End
7) The Ghosts of Pripyat
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"Some musicians, perhaps due to their quiet natures and their desire to avoid the limelight, do not garner the praise and recognition that they deserve... Steve Rothery is once such artist but perhaps this superbly emotive and heartfelt release will go some way to changing that."