2019 (Kensington Records)
It is actually logical that Kensington is given attention on Prog & Rock. Not only is the rockband from Utrecht rightfully unbounded popular, “Time”, their fifth album, also contains more than enough aspects to be enthusiastic about. Crucial is the approach with which the album was created. “Time” is in any case not made of: we pop out another album and heave on the waves of our success. No, things are significantly different.
After all the hectic with regard to the many international performances that the album “Control” from 2016 brought, the band decides to step into the lee and especially take the time for consciousness and reflection. In addition to skipping the festival season in 2019, the quartet went to Vancouver in Canada to full focus write new songs. The setting is an idyllic log cabin and together with producer Garth Richardson (Red Hot Chili Peppers) eleven songs were eventually recorded.
Listening to the album you can hear that this method is constantly paying off, with the bombastic sound having disappeared into the background. Actually, as a proghead I should regret that, but due to the absence of this wall of sound, the music sounds fresh and open. The integrity of every song splashes off, it is good to be by the fire.
When you listen to “Time”, you are hugely taken into the intimacy of the music, like you are part of the band. The attraction that singer Eloi Youssef generates adds up to that aswell. His expressive voice doesn’t fail anywhere and is so unique that you are constantly surprised.
That surprise effect is of course also in the music itself. For example, opener Bats has an almost industrial character with its tight drum rhythm and its driving synthesizers. It reminds me a bit of the art rock of the American band Man On Fire, absolutely genius and very un-Kensington. The subsequent What Lies Ahead, however, is as you know the band, exuberant and catchy with full vocals. The transparent sound gives it its own character. With songs like the heartbreakingly beautiful Uncharted, the piano ballad Chronos Pt.1 and the sensitive Ten Times The Weight that later explodes blissfully, Kensington makes a deep impression. On the cover you can see a campfire where the sparks fly above, these songs at least touch the sky. A remarkable song is Perfect Family Day, which comes across as somewhat psychedelic with its rougher guitar sound. The album closes with the moody No Me that becomes especially interesting towards the end, when the rhythm tightens.
With “Time” Kensington has delivered a great fifth album. It has been a good thing that they went to Vancouver for writing and recording. It resulted in a lot of beautiful things, for the whole world to hear.
© Dick van der Heijde 2022