Unto Us – The Human Landscape (2014)

UntoUs_HumanLandscape4 out of 5 Stars!

In 2009, when gifted vocalist Huw Lloyd-Jones parted ways with Britain’s Also Eden—one of my favorite Progressive Rock bands of the new century—after releasing two exemplary albums, I feared for not only the band’s future, but also wondered where Lloyd-Jones would end up.

Thankfully, Also Eden continued onward with a new singer, whereas the band’s former vocalist quickly found a place for himself in a new group called Unto Us. Finally, after four long years of anticipation, the band released its debut album in 2014. And was it worth the wait? In a word, definitely!

Lloyd-Jones’s instantly recognizable voice is on full display here, his melody lines just as compelling as what he delivered in Also Eden, and the music produced by the quintet, when it comes to intriguing atmospheres, song complexity, and sophisticated instrumentation, is also of a similar nature. Yet Unto Us does have its own identity as well, melding influences that seem to occasionally draw from groups such as IQ, Pallas, and Marillion with touches of jazz, classical, and even folk rock. And although a wide variety of keyboards and synths are used throughout the album, it’s when the grand piano dominates the arrangements beneath Lloyd-Jones’s beautiful voice that Unto Us finds its truly unique sound.

Be that as it may, The Human Landscape is a splendid debut, with the five lengthy tracks (and the short title track, a piano-based instrumental that serves as a lead in to another tune) all displaying top-notch musicianship and performances, and I’m praying the band continues moving forward, releasing another collection of classy fare in the near future.

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