The Grand Delu­sion Long­branch Grand vi­sion or smoke and mir­rors?

Prog - - The Musical Box - MP

There is an ap­pro­pri­ately mislead­ing qual­ity to The Grand Delu­sion. The fifth al­bum from Ger­man pop prog­gers The Intersphere sounds fa­mil­iar in so many ways: there are alt-rock riff clichés, a clean nu-metal vo­cal straight out of the early 00s and those jerk­ing gui­tar and drum thrashes first coined by Biffy Clyro. Yet all of these touch­stones have been jug­gled and jum­bled in such a way that it feels like an Eno cut-up. Things don’t start well: Don’t Think Twice is a slab of puce pop rock that sounds like the kind of meek B-side that the likes of Feeder would lay down on a spare stu­dio day. Mind Over Mat­ter has more cut and thrust to it, wrong-foot­ing with snare snaps and ag­gres­sive gui­tar bursts that are in­ter­spersed amid big chords ’n’ cho­rus sec­tions that might oth­er­wise sound stale. Things get more com­pelling as the record pro­gresses and stretches. Se­cret Place, Man

On The Moon and New Maxim, in par­tic­u­lar, ably strike a bal­ance be­tween gut-punch and pop hook. Else­where the pro­gres­sive el­e­ments are de­liv­ered in mi­crobursts, amid some duller tropes. When it works though, we get an­themic pop rock with clever punc­tu­a­tion.

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