After the name was put in my face countless times a few years back I gave RPWL a try. It left an ‘okay at best’ impression and faded into the reference only section of my library. I always like to give artists another chance so I enthusiastically accepted the assignment of reviewing their latest release “Wanted.”
The techno beginning of ”Revelation” was very encouraging, especially with the entrance of the fuzz guitar and mellotron. Good prog groove all around leading to a more traditional middle and then bookending with the techno and mellotron. Not bad, not bad at all. Second song starts out interestingly with chugging guitar and bass adding a low register chant. Okay looking good… until the chorus. What happened? This cool dark rocker is suddenly invaded by radio friendly pop rock. Square peg in a round hole anyone? The extended ‘jam’ portion of the song does not play off what was started and only covers typical prog territory. Therein lies the problem. Just when I thought I might change my mind about RPWL, the reason I brushed them aside returns. To be fair quite a bit of “Swords and Guns” did hold my attention, as did sections of other songs. Sadly the mundane tends to overshadow the innovative.
As often seen in other reviews of RPWL the music does contain a heavy David Gilmour influence. When complimented by their more creative elements it works very well. The unfortunate fact is most of the time these ideas fade before they are fully developed. Take for example the closer, “A New Dawn.” Beginning in an intimate, minimalistic and decidedly non-Gilmour approach until then they swell up into the same ol’ same ol’ we have heard many times before by other bands. There are some areas that are satisfying and do work. “The Attack” and the aforementioned “Revelation” are outstanding tracks. “The Attack” utilizes all the strengths of what they are known for and is the best song on the album. Otherwise the music is pretty generic and even at times puts me in the mind of soulless 80’s rock. Not saying that’s what it is but the connotation is there. Hey even some of our heroes, and most likely the band’s, got absorbed into to that (Steve Hackett, Jeff Beck). I think I recall hearing something released by one of those guys back then that sounded a lot like the title track. Which by the way is surprisingly the weakest song on the album.
The preceding lines may be perceived as a slam on this talented group of musicians. To clarify, the music is not bad. The album is very listenable but lacks a distinct personality. To illustrate how subjective musical tastes are, one of my colleagues said the exact opposite in a review. He lauded RPWL for how much personality they have. I had not read his review before that word entered my mind. So like anything else it’s really up to the individual to decide. “Wanted” doesn’t do enough to change my mind on the band or recommend the album very highly. If RPWL’s focus had been on the things I did enjoy you would be reading an entirely different review. As it stands my music dollars would be better spent elsewhere. Who knows though, “Wanted” could be your album of the year.
Yogi Lang – vocals, keyboard
Kalle Wallner – guitar
Marc Turiaux – drums
Markus Jehle – keyboard, piano
Werner Taus – bass