It would be insulting to simply call this band a progressive rock band. They are progressive and their music does rock on varying levels, but it’s such a disservice to merely place them under such a heading. They caught a wave of interest and respect back in 2010 when they unveiled the highly acclaimed We’re Here Because We’re Here wrapped up in its own fragility, delicate emotional expression and raw observation. Since that moment of recognition, Weather Systems in 2012 continued the momentum without perhaps exceeding its predecessor’s quality.
Now their fans are treated to the next step in the band’s constant evolution and eagerness to embrace what they are and consequently how to continually raise the bar of excellence. The shadow of numbness and longing for answers and solidity within one’s own state of emotional consciousness remains as evident as on previous releases, without becoming something that delves the depths of self-loathing and self-pity. This summary means business as usual for the UK-based quintet including some contributions by producer Christer-André Cederberg, which bodes well if you fell for the melancholy and extravagant charms of their previous two albums.
Distant Satellites constitutes their 10th studio album which incorporates the sweeping juxtaposition of Lee Douglas and Vincent Cavanagh on lead vocals; evident throughout the three parts of The Lost Song. Suspecting the band is comfortable with their identity and achievements, their fans are treated to a song titled after the band name. Anathema captures the precious veneer they seem to effortlessly shed with each and every subtle string section or general instrumentation that becomes an integral element of their arrangements. The ominous beauty of the creative mind of Daniel Cavanagh behind the song-writing process provides the continuity in quality as with previous albums and yet again showcases what an understated songwriter he is.
Modern architecture embodies the instrumentation of the title track carrying the softest vocal melody. Distant Satellites is the epitome of a well crafted, gentle and modern interpretation of progressive rock with a sincere beating heart at its core. If you are struck by a tidal wave of emotional introspection; a moment of genuine heart-felt contemplation or merely sit alone on a still spacious day watching life go by, this album would make a special and highly personal companion to treasure with each listen. Sublime in its tranquil beauty, Distant Satellites is easily one of the best progressive rock albums you’ll hear this year.