High time to update progVisions with the latest two Poor Genetic Material releases. Somehow we missed the 2020 album "Here Now", but the band was willing to send us this release together with their latest effort, the 15th-anniversary edition of "Spring Tidings". The latter is a remixed, remastered and partly re-recorded version of their famous 2005 album. But this is a story for later. We now concentrate on "Here Now" the successor of the album "Absence" (2016).
Philip Griffiths - lead & backing vocals; Martin Griffiths - lead vocals on "The Garden"; Stefan Glomb - guitars; Philipp Jaehne - keyboards; Pia Darmstaedter - flute; Dennis Sturm - bass; Dominik Steinbacher - drums & backing vocals
Musically "Here Now" is more direct and less mellow than its predecessor. Lyrically the two albums deal with two sides of the same coin: While "Absence" was focussing on the experience of loss and the transience of everything we live through, "Here Now" deals with the permanent presence of every single moment, which makes us forever tied to the Here and Now. Poor Genetic Material is known for its two exceptional lead singers: Philip Griffiths and his father Martin Griffiths (Beggars Opera). Martin Griffiths is present on the longest track "The Garden" (13:12) of the album. The other tracks are "Here Now", "Serendipity", "The Waiting Game", "Note from My Younger Self", and "This Place". The album opens with the title track "Here Now". Artrock with uplifting melodies and wonderful vocal lines. In the later part of this fine song, you will be treated to beautiful arrangements and hear my favourite guest player Pia Darmstaedter on the flute. The short parts with the combination of flute, Mellotron and guitar are very beautiful. "Serendipity" is a short uptempo track with nice vocal melodies, keyboards and some short flute parts. "The Waiting Game" is more interesting for us prog fans. The piece has more diversity than the previous track. Guest player Pia Darmstaedter plays again a fine flute part before a Fripp like guitar part and fine synth melodies end this track. "Note from My Younger Self" gets the prize for the most intriguing song title of the album. The instrumental intro on piano, flute and synth is very nice. One of the most beautiful melodies of the whole album. Also, the vocal lines are very beautiful. The song develops into one of my favourite tracks on this album. The centrepiece of the album is the earlier mentioned song "The Garden" which is divided into the parts I. The War, II. The Garden, III. The Theatre, IV. The Silver Peacock, V. The Peace. This long track (and the following track) are absolutely the highlights of the album. The combination of the two lead vocalists works fine. The great vocal parts are alternated with intriguing instrumental parts. The music is diverse but is nowhere over the top, always the main vocal melody is returning. And I have to say this again the flute parts of Pia Darmstaedter brings the music to the next level. The song ends with a nice guitar solo from Stefan Glomb. Also, the keyboard parts of Philipp Jaehne are worth mentioning. Great track! The album comes to an end with the song "This Place", which opens with a beautiful flute melody and delicate sung vocal parts of Philip Griffiths. Maybe this is melody wise the best song on the album. "This Place" is my personal favourite track of the "Here Now" album. Great diversity and fine instrumental passages to support the wonderful vocal performance. Love the drum parts of Dominik Steinbacher in this track which also ends with a fine guitar solo from Stefan Glomb.
Your reviewer enjoyed listening to this album very much. Musically "Here Now" is less mellow than its predecessor. Philip Griffiths impressed me one more time with great songwriting and as a vocalist. Especially the last part of the album with songs like "Note from My Younger self', "The Garden" and "This Place" is very strong. Check this out for yourselfs.