Two years since their 2009 debut The Way, and the band TCP come back even stronger than ever in 2011 with the follow-up album, Fantastic Dreamer, on the amazing 10T Records. The core line-up is as follows; Henry Tarnecky (vocals, keyboards), Blake Tobias (keyboards, bass), Jack Wright (guitars, drums). They are joined by Glenn Arpino (keyboards), Tom Shiben (bass) and Nicole Tarnecky (vocals).
Opening the album, “Schizoid & Guntrip” (2:49), is a powerhouse of a track that grabs you and doesn’t let you go for the rest of the duration of the album.
Next is “In The Movie Of You” (7:59) which starts out with an old projector sound and what could be an audience awaiting a performer/performance. I hear a blend of Genesis and Supertramp throughout the album but most notably and on “Devotee” (7:23). This has become one of my favorites of this album and of the band. I can only imagine how awesome this would sound in a live setting.
The band takes is down a few notches on “Ambiance For The Active Mind” (6:37) then around the 4 minute mark the music gradually gains volume. For now, I’m on the fence about this song. I can’t pinpoint why though.
We come to another one of my favorites of the album, the title track “Fantastic Dreamer” (6:26). In a perfect world, this could definitely be a hit single and a highlight in a live setting. This song is the one that I think would be the best introduction to the band.
“Releasing” (5:17) has a dark swing vibe to most of it. This would be a second choice of how to introduce prog newbies to TCP. It’s the perfect length, without editing, to be played on any FM station across the USA.
“Fading In The Rain” (6:28) is another favorite of mine. It shows the band can rock even at a lower volume. This will be a song I think of when it rains. It might have a calming feeling to listen to it during a storm.
The next song, “Upon Further Review” (4:28), is primarily an acoustic guitar/ keyboard dominating track. There’s a familiarity to some parts that I can’t pinpoint, almost like a good friend.
Closing the album is the epic “Vision” (13:49), which is a quite calming way to end off an album. In my opinion, it’s as important to the prog world as Genesis’ “Musical Box” or Yes’ “Close To The Edge“. In fact I feel “Vision” should be talked about in the same sentence as those and other bands. The music flows so seamlessly, never forced, which I admire from a band. They didn’t have to do an epic because they’re a prog band, I think they did it because it felt like the right time.
If you’re looking for a album that invokes the past and forges ahead, then get a copy of Fantastic Dreamer today. For me it’s simply one of the best releases of 2011 and is without a doubt, highly recommended.
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on July 13th, 2011