Anton Roolaart: Dreamer
Anton Roolaart is a Prog Archives member, and a nice guy (sorry we didn’t get the chance to meet at NEARfest buddy). Since he is a nice guy, he sent me a copy of “Dreamer.” So you could imagine how I felt when I first put it on, and I didn’t really like it. My first thought was that I couldn’t review it. How could I trash something a friend created? Thankfully, it grew on me with repeated playing.
Dreamer is classic style prog for modern times. Anton’s guitar work is dynamic, and soulful. There is a bit of a David Gilmour quality to it, but it is not limited to just that. The piano parts are absolutely gorgeous at times. His compositional skills are also very strong. These pieces are very well constructed, and have plenty of range. Don’t expect to hear anything particularly groundbreaking, but the strength is in the execution. The backing musicians also do some splendid work.
Dreamer takes you through varying moods and thoughts. Most of the lyrics seem to be of a reflective nature. It reminds me of how I look back at certain moments in my own life. The music is always right in sync with the mood of the verse. Each piece moves along with grace, and always keeps your interest. There is definitely a feeling of precision here. It’s as if every nuance was planned out in advance. All of this attention to detail definitely pays off.
I guess what turned me off at first (and what still bothers me) was the singing. Anton does not have the strongest voice. With a different type of music it might work just fine. However, music of this magnitude needs the right vocal out front. You may say, “What about Peter Hammill?” That’s true, but it is also a different style of music. This is some powerful, and beautiful symphonic rock. It should have a powerful and beautiful voice to match (sorry Anton).
By no means avoid this album. The music is very good. You may just have to look past the vocals a bit. Perhaps next time out Anton could find another singer, or maybe do an instrumental.
Anton Roolaart – vocals, guitar, keyboard, programming
Rave Tesar – keyboards
Vincent Puryear – bass
Rich Berends – drums ( tracks 1,3,4 & 7)
Charles Descarfino – drums (tracks 2,5,6 & 8)