Millenium – 44 Minutes

2017 (Lynx Music)

1: The Colours Of My Life (5:16)
2: Liferunner (4:40)
3: Are We Lost? (7:32)
4: Calling! (4:15)
5: My Father Always Said (8:31)
6: Lost Teddy Bear (Pt’s 1-2) (6:02)
7: 44 Minutes (8:22)
8: Ending Titles (7:50)

“44 Minutes” from 2017 is the twelfth studio album by Polish neo-prog band Millenium and there is something rather special about this album. In Ending Titles, the bonus track added to the CD release of the album, singer Lukasz Gall says goodbye to the band and its fans after 18 years of loyal service. A year later a new vocalist is presented and the very next year Gall is back to the old nest. In any case, this has a melancholic effect on the album.

On “44 Minutes” Millenium presents itself as a six-piece, which means that saxophonist Dariusz Rybka and drummer Grzegorz Bauer have been promoted from guest musician to permanent band member. Together with keyboardist Ryszard Kramarski, guitarist Piotr Płonka, bassist Krzysztof Wyrwa and the aforementioned Gall, they are responsible for that flawless band sound. In that respect, do not rule out the contributions of guest singer Karolina Leszko. Her voice blends beautifully with Galls and occasionally throws in some lead vocals as well. So she really does a bit more than just some ooo’s and aaa’s in this Pink Floyd-tinted music. Enough about all those tongue twisting names, on to the songs.

The somewhat timid The Colors Of My Life sets the album in motion, or rather: the sparkling guitar at the end of the song does. After that all bets are off and we are constantly immersed in the bath called Millenium. Songs like Liferunner and Are We Lost? are not only melodic and full of harmony but also nice and rhythmic and rich in atmosphere with beautiful instrumentations. The album also has two almost instrumental songs. In both Calling! as well as Lost Teddy Bear there are some vocalizations. Both songs are compositionally sublime as each passage is smoothly followed by the next. The keyboard parts in Calling! are unmistakably done by Kramarski and the guitar theme in Lost Teddy Bear is also characteristic for Millenium. That full guitar sound of Płonka is delicious by the way and is just like on most of the band’s albums abundantly present. Millenium always comes up with some longer tracks. For example, My Father Always Said and the title track both clock above eight minutes which is not a second too much. Millenium always knows how to dose perfectly and never comes up with an unnecessary note. A good example of this is Rybka’s saxophone playing. He could easily play a lot of runs, instead he plays neatly in the service of the music.

“44 Minutes” is a controlled, somewhat well-behaved album, but it is Millennium all over again. For 44 minutes all is fine and dandy until the bonus track arrives. I would like to add that the solos at the end sound like Kramarski and Płonka have given a musical thank you to the departing Gall. In any case, that would be extremely justified. How great must have been the joy when Gall returned two years later?

Łukasz Gall: vocals
Piotr Płonka: accoustic and electric guitars
Ryszard Kramarski: keyboards, accoustic guitar
Dariusz Rybka: saxophone
Krzysztof Wyrwa: bass, Warr guitar
Grzegorz Bauer: drums
Karolina Leszko: vocals, background vocals

© Dick van der Heijde 2022