CD Title: ď1000 WishesĒ
Band Website: www.pb2.nl
Label: Freia Music
Label Website: www.freia-music.com
Release Date: 2013
This is the second studio effort for the second incarnation of the Dutch band Plackband. Calling themselves PBII they achieved much notoriety and great reviews with the release of Plastic Soup in 2010. That album took on the socially conscious issue of polluting our oceans, here with 1000 Wishes they take on the issue of cancer Ė specifically children with cancer. This time around the band is made up of Michel Van Wassem (keyboards, piano, vocals), Ronald Brautigam (guitars), Tom Van Der Meulen (drums) and new members Alex Van Elswijk (bass, pedals) and Ruud Slakhorst (vocals). Once again PBII enlist some talented assistance: The Hague Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Marcel Geraeds, Nathailie Mees (vocals), Steve Hackett (guitars), James Potter (voice) and Roger Watson (voice). The addition of an actual symphony orchestra creates a very grand sound that meshes extremely well with the rock-combo side of the band.
1000 Wishes is a full 74-minutes, 15-tracks in total with a mix of short and long-ish compositions. Songs are interspersed with bits of vocal narration; one being the actual narrator and the other being Eric the child with cancer. Itís through these vocal interludes songs transition from one to the next telling a very unique story from the childís perspective. The music is lushly symphonic and I have to say, the rock and symphonic aspects are arranged extremely well and completely work well together, each one adding more strength and power to the otherís performance. Nothing seems to be fighting against the other; rather each sees their time in the musical spotlight. Itís one of the best efforts of this type of musical combination Iíve ever heard. In addition many of these compositions feature some amazing melodic lines that are full of majestic power enhanced by the orchestra. In addition the use of bass pedals lends a solid fullness that is very moving. The music is at times dramatic, poignant, introspective and lush, but more than anything I was left with an upbeat feeling of hope.
1000 Wishes is certainly a brilliant follow-up to Plastic Soup and easily takes PBIIís game to the next level. The arrangements are solid and the compositions well crafted. Performance and production are first class. If you enjoyed their last CD or you like the music of contemporary symphonic bands like IQ Iím quite sure you will thoroughly enjoy 1000 Wishes. Highly recommended.