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Billy Sherwood – Citizen: In The Next Life

Billy Sherwood
Citizen: In The Next Life
by Sergio Andrés at 25 September 2019, 7:56 PM

Billy Sherwood is someone who does not need an introduction. The man is a bloody legend, and he has played or worked (as a producer) with everyone, ranging from MOTORHEAD to John Wetton, from DANGEROUS TOYS to DEF LEPPARD. Plus, he is a current member of Prog monsters, YES.

I was still a teenager and got a copy of YES´s "Open Your Eyes". Being a Prog nerd myself, I was expecting some musical wankery and “dungeons and dragon” themes. What a great surprise it was that the record contained all-rounded songs, rather than over-indulgent pieces, and part of that compositional and production mastery was credited to Sherwood recording´s skills.

This particular offering, unfortunately, does not live up to all this subjective hype. Not because the songs or production can´t hold a candle, it is because of the voice timbre. Personally, and with due respect to this monster musician, I found the vocals were not my cup of tea, by any means. This type of issue is very recurrent with other talented wizards as Brian May or Ty Tabor, rock legends with massive talent and a proficient voice within the context of a band, but failing in the lead vocal department.

Don´t get me wrong, the songs are superb, the production and the performance are top-notch, but being a musician of this stature, I was expecting a rock Caruso to wail on these tunes. Shades of YES, MARILLION, QUEEN, ASIA, are nicely blended on these tracks, with Sherwood classy twist and skilled ear for mixing the bass (thanks Lord!)

“We Shall Ride Again” has some Peter Gabriel (circa “Us” times) and some Liverpool fave four connecting passages between sections (Think “Eleanor Rigby”). “Sophia” and “Monet” tunes have some tender moments, which could have been way more sublime cuts with a different voice. “Hold Quite” stands as the magnum opus of this record with a plethora of sounds, nuances, and delicate arrangements.

Here is the thing, the record kills, has no failure and I should rate it at 10, but the voice factor tanks all the good intentions.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 10

3 Star Rating

1. The Partisan
2. Sophia
3. Monet
4. Skywriter
5. We Shall Ride Again
6. Via Hawking
7. By Design
8. Sailing The Seas
9. Mata Hari
10. Hold Quite
Billy Sherwood: Lead & Backing Vocals / Guitars / Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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Edited 02 February 2023

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