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Delusion Squared - 'Delusion Squared II' (self released) 4.5/5

One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of 2010 was the debut album from French prog outfit Delusion Squared, a dark yet alluring concept work about corporate control, genetic engineering and revolution. Now two years on we have this nugget of a follow up.

Once again we have a concept work, this time dealing with a dark and complex tale about the end of the world, and once again it is a tale well told through first rate musicianship and song writing.

Vocalist Lorraine Young has a sweet, almost innocent sounding voice, coming over a tad like the great Errin Williams - all restrained and with an almost childlike charm. Yet it works so well, when the other two (who I'll get to in a moment) a playing the soft folky type stuff it blends perfectly, then when the guys start to lean on it and rock it up a bit the juxtaposition is spine tingling. Just check out the middle section on Recipe For Disaster to see exactly what I mean.

As for the other two members of this project, Steve Francis and Emmanuel de Saint Meen - here are two performers of the highest level. Not only are they first rate musicians, but they have read the prog rock 101 instruction manual - Mark Kelly style keyboard widdles, Andy Latimer style guitar solos, interesting time signatures and key changes... and know how to apply them and keep just the right side of cliche - and they have also learned the biggest lesson of all. In music rules are made to be broken. And that is what makes Delusion Squared stand out head and shoulders above so many other of the generic proggy wannabes out there.

Highlights? well this is a smooth and seamless concept work, so picking out any individual track would be wrong, but my favourate moment has to be the shiver inducing Vertical Paradox.

In short this is another great album, but a truly great band.

Highly Recommended

For fans of... Mostly Autumn, Porcupine Tree, Pendragon, Camel, Darwins Radio....

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