Brave new world
The sequel to CHASING LIGHT, finds the protaganist on a brand new homeworld that is both strange and inspiring. The feelings of loneliness, regret and fear are coexisting with the thoughts of hope, optimism and seeking a new life.
B4tF takes steps to present a more sci-fi/prog journey, cinematic and emotional as the music gets a bit more adventurous and shades darker.
BRAVE NEW WORLD starts the cinematic theme with a swell of spacey synths that introduce the album with epic intention. The first section of the song is the arrival of the traveller to this new place, All instrumental, the theme follows David's delayed guitars as they swim in mellotron space. The middle section sets the sci-tone for the album. Telling the story of being somewhere, but not sure how you feel about it. Fear, excitement, loneliness, determination, all are felt as the traveller begins the journey. Kenny's lonely vocal captures the emotional state of the character. Finally reprised by the intro theme returning to signify the album is afoot!
BREATHE is considered to be one of the more accessible songs on the album. Making a loud statement about the time is now to let go, to allow for new travels, its a personal declaration that this is the now. Pursue the path. David's 12 string rickenbacker adds a Beatle/Harrison flair, and the tingly mandolin drives the verses. Kenny sings the chorus with a solo vocal, raising the intensity each time he reaches that point in the song. The climax is the go moment, where everything erupts to a high energy anthem.
THE SHELTERING SKY is a very important lyrical moment on the album. The song was transformed by David's gentle Pink Floyd-like guitar motif during the first section of the song. Kenny sings the pensive lyrics and reflects on how life passes us by. Time cannot stop. There are limitations to the number of days we have. The lyrics were inspired by the book The Sheltering Sky. The theme of the story is about finite time, mortality. A key motif lyrically is in the middle section, "who can find a past?" section. This motif is repeated in the last part of the album again, as it really represents the questions the traveller faces. Special listeners of our music may notice that this lyric is also in PARALLEL LINES, a single released last summer...as that song was intended to be on the album and continue the lyrical connection.Kenny gives an emotional vocal performance, going from reflective to declaring his feelings up unto the end section where Kenny shouts his desire to absorb all that we can. David creates a cacophony of guitars in the final section, that swirl and dazzle the spectrum.
ZENITH is the first single off of the album. Primarily due to it's representing both accessibility and the unusual feel of the new songs. In an odd time signature of 5/4, and then 7/8 for the chorus, the song has an angular approach. The bass guitar is the tonal guidepost for the verses, and Kenny delivers lyrics that demonstrate the need to keep climbing over obstacles. Pushing the limits to reach a goal. Getting over the top, to get to the other side. David's guitars are floating and meteoric, dashing from one side to the other. the song features 12string acoustic guitars, a fragmented moog solo, and a high speed frantic lead guitar outro by David that leaves a resonance to savor.
CITY OF THE SUN is one of two songs that changed the course of the album. 20 or so songs were written and in progress, this song came along, and the feeling and presentation just inspired Patric and he wrote the rest of the album in weeks. Discarding the previous set of songs. This song is often regarded as the favorite track, it has three distinct sections, the first being in 9/8, the lamenting melodies sing of what we all want. We all want things to be what they cannot be. We still hope for this. But things don't always work out the way we hope. The middle section erupts with a Fripp-Zep like riff. The marching pace returns to 4/4, and the voices lecture again about how time goes by, and once something is done, its over. Ominous choral vocals send this sentiment as Kenny and Patric provide the dense vocals. The final section is the realization that things will be what they are, face them, move on to your goal. In this case, the proverbial city in the sun. What that means to each of us. The song rises to a crescendo and then drifts in to a single lonely tron string line.
AZIMUTH is about setting your direction. Letting the past go. Facing the pain. And going for the city. Another use of the band's moniker in the lyric..."I built for the future, but the future didn't last". The song is brief, and set between two long epic songs, to give a bit of respite, energy and gear up the listener. It jangles with a Genesis and Beatle bounce. The keyboard riff is played by PETER FITHIAN who is the B4tF live keyboardist, he guests on the song he calls his favorite of all B4tF songs!
DISTANT LAND is the epic. Written by Kenny, worked up to this state by Patric. Embellished to sci-fi magic by David. The new writing that inspired Patric left the Kenny penned songs from the first set abandoned. But looking for a way to get Kenny a writing credit, Patric looked through Kenny's ideas and Distant Land stood out. Kenny began finishing it with the new idea of being on the album, wrote the incredible vocal melodies and lyrics, and then sent to Patric and David to work it up accordingly. The song is in multiple sections, the first is the reflection of the traveller, facing the journey to hopefully find the destination, the city of the sun. The second section is the firey admission that the pain is there, the scars, the past haunt. But focus is on the new sky, the new sun and the new land. The middle section, Overlander, is another cinematic moment that creates the image of the crossing the landscape, a pulse beats as steps seem to be taken, winds blow, the guitar is gentle and reflective. David added lovely guitar touches to give the piece a true sci-fi feel. This all explodes in the the climactic section back in odd time, and now a choral presentation of voices driving the determined traveller onward. This is the obvious Yes-moment on the album, as the rickenbacker bass rumbles a very Squire-like bass line and the vocals stab in a very Yes-like manner. The song reprises the middle section, and emotionally peaks as if falling over the edge...the final reflective section is again where the motif lyric is revisited. Patric and Kenny have a gentle two part harmony moment, fittingly. And then washed away by a space wave of David's guitars pulsing and chiming.
LINE OF SIGHT is the other song that changed the course of the album. The song was tweaked after N.Peart died, and the intro was purposely adapted to nod to the trio, and to the great Professor. This was done at the very last moment after the album was already done. The song has a power riff and then David's counter Howe-like riffs to create an energy and tension, representing the journey. The verses are gentle, and a bit eerie, Kenny captures the emotion that the traveller is feeling after a long quest. The mid section shows David as he lets go. The lead in this part is simply gorgeous. Slow, fast, bends, and then to the crystalline needling that underlies as the mellotrons build back in to the main riff. During the last verses, the traveller realizes that he has reached the City. And that answer may lie ahead. The final coda of the song, and thus the album is a huge vocal choral that chants encouragement.
"If you want to believe it's your world, believe it's your world!" is the final sentiment. Declare that you will make this your world, and make the most of it. The choral chants drift to a non-lyrical 'lie lie la la" section that hopefully captures the elation of finally getting there. The last orchestrated lines of the song, drift with meloncholy as they reprise the intro section of the beginning of the album. Implying a cycle...
The album is dedicated to the memory of the Professor, Neil Peart. Who not only was the most influential rock drummer in history, but also a huge influence on Patric and how he writes lyrics, uses themes, and honors the importance of words. "I found that Neil has been my biggest influence to how i approach lyrics and theme, and i don't think i realized it until he passed away."--Patric
When Neil passed away, parts of the title track BRAVE NEW WORLD and the last song LINE OF SIGHT were re-written to literally and sonically honor The Professor. So listen out for the homage, it was purposeful. And the subtitle for the intro piece was renamed VAPOR TRAIL to again honor NP.
Peace to the Earth and the Earthlings aboard.