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Picture – Wings

Picture
Wings
by Rachel Montgomery at 30 July 2019, 11:00 AM

It’s no small feat releasing your thirty-first album. After 40 years together, PICTURE has released their next album, “Wings”. It’s a solid album; it holds to its aesthetic, but I think it plays it safe, making it a good, but not great, album. The opening track lets you know right off the bat that this is 80s Heavy Metal. The melody change at 0:34 is interesting, as well as the vintage VAN HALEN vibe the track has, from the vocalist to the instrumentals to the production quality. Overall, it’s a solid song within genre conventions. The machine gun riff is catchy, the guitar solo shows good technique, and it’s a good song.

The title track sounds boring thematically. It’s got a nice, steady beginning, but the vocalist sounds tired, not relaxed, but like he took an Ambien and he’s ready to float to bed. While I can appreciate a simple song – and this song is as simple as it gets, no bells and whistles, no harmony play, just a beat, a riff, and a vocalist – it doesn’t soar, and it’s hard to capture that feeling of flying away when the singer sounds bored. “Little Annie” has some more bite to it. I like the blues influence of the song. The next song, “Is It Real”, is also faster and has a lot of Punk overtones. The grittier style of the vocalist does really well here.

The next songs are good thematically, and I enjoy the complex riff at the beginning of “Blown Away”. Complex is a relative term, so it’s still a simple song; the guitar solo even continues the same melody until halfway through, which isn’t a bad thing. This is just the band’s style, and whether you like it boils down to personal preference. The seventh track, “Empty Room”, is my favorite. It starts as a slow ballad then gallops into an intense riff. Lyrically, it shows angst rather than tells it, and it creates a cool, gothic atmosphere. I enjoyed the choral call-and-response, and the climbing chords in the guitar solo are nothing short of beautiful. It speeds up in the middle and leads up to a frenzied solo and refrain.

The next song is solid, featuring a longer-than-usual intro. Again, it’s a simple, solid song, nothing groundbreaking, not a standout. The vocals can get blurry, fuzzing out the lyrical content; since this is a story song about a guy who gives everything to a girl who is never satisfied, it needs to be clearer. “Still Standing” has some good call-and-response elements in it and some good thematic choices. I wish it were a little stronger to convey the message of a band that’s still going after decades.

Finally, the closing song, “Stroke”, is the only longer song on the album. It has a strong riff, but I’m feeling some vocal disharmony between the lyrics and the guitars. There’s a long, narrative solo featuring some ambient dialogue, narrative and instrumentals that build to an anthemic “fight, fight” chant. While I enjoyed the positive message about pressing on, mainly because it helped with my anxiety-inducing weekend, the song overall was all right, not great. Overall, I could describe the album the same way. It’s solid, simple, but it plays it too safe at times. I have nothing against simple songs; the world needs them, and it adds up to personal taste at the end of the day. However, I didn’t feel like the album pushed the envelope from good to great.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Line of Life
2. Wings
3. Little Annie
4. Is It Real
5. Blown Away
6. No Place to Hide
7. Empty Room
8. Never Enough
9. Still Standing
10. Stroke
Lineup:
Ronald van Prooijen – Vocals
Jan Bechtum – Guitars
Rinus Vreugdenhil – Bass
Appie de Gelder – Guitars & Keyboard
Laurens “Bakkie” Bakker – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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Edited 21 October 2019
 

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