Dark, jazzy and very much in the same vein as King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Tuval Cain takes advantage of a full sonic palate.
Review by David Feltman
Progressive rock has become a rare and strange bird in contemporary music, rarely sighted in a sky overcrowded with common songbirds and corporate pigeons. Sure there’s a healthy population of progressive metal groups, but, with the exception of the occasional Mars Volta, progressive left the rock ‘n’ roll vernacular back in the 70s. So while perhaps derivative, it’s refreshing to see Tuval Cain reviving the golden era of British prog rock on its debut album, Forging the Future.
Dark, jazzy and very much in the same vein as King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Peter Gabriel era Genesis, Tuval Cain takes advantage of a full sonic palate including flute, sax, violin and even a ram’s horn. Forging the Future begins with the sort of noir-esque melodies you might find in a Sam Fuller movie like “The Naked Kiss” or “Pickup on South Street.” The album is front loaded with swaggering tracks like “Nomad” and “Wandering I” that are instantly enticing. The second half of the album, however, strays from screaming yet catchy jazz fusion into the mild banality of smooth jazz, causing the album to sputter out. Luckily, the album manages to right itself with the manic fervor of “Retrobate.”
Keyboardist and general mastermind of the band, David Lawrence Kuhn wrote and arranged all of the music and lyrics. But it’s far from a one-man show. Kuhn surrounds himself with a cadre of talented Israeli musicians. Dor Nagar’s vocals are strong and versatile, alternating between the likes of Greg Lake, Adrian Belew and, surprisingly, Bruce Dickinson. Like a lot of folky prog bands, Tuval Cain does fall victim to contrived and clichéd lyrics like, “On your knees you can’t see the forest for the trees.” It also commits the sin of letting the vocals dominate the track, a crime made worse considering the complex compositions that are lost in the mix.
Missteps aside, Tuval Cain has produced a promising debut and claimed an appealing and fertile namesake for future concept albums. Forging the Future may be imperfect, but definitely warrants prog fans to keep an eye on this band.
Find more about Tuval Cain and buy the album at the band’s official website.