Constancy is the second album from Order of Voices whose self-titled debut album came out in 2011. Described as prog rock, on the evidence of the ten tracks in front of me they’re very much rock first with the prog as a mild aftertaste. In other words, my kind of prog!
I’d say the one thing throughout the album that makes it “prog” is that it’s atmospheric. The musical skills on display are beyond impressive – solos, melodies, rhythm – and the vocals courtesy of Leigh Oates are just the right kind of throaty. For every gentle track like “Hold a Glass”, there’s a funkier number such as “Diametric” which really lets the bass notes flow.
While Ashley Homar and Stefan Blackwood intertwine and exchange their guitar roles, Ian Gaunt holds the strings in line with his subtle but powerful bass lines. Aynsley Dickinson bangs on the skins in good rhythm with only the occasional escape into the more prog-esque off-kilter beats.
There are really two halves to the album – the light and the heavy, though slap in the middle is unusual oddball number “Speak Aloud” which goes more for “trippy” instead. A slow number with the beat mainly kept with a deep bass drum and wood blocks, it’s a haunting and relaxing number yet one that somehow buries deep into you. Despite being the odd one out on the album, it’s definitely worth nothing as this doesn’t make it one that should be skipped.
Of the others, there’s a more or less even split and they show Order of Voices off well. They can have you lilting or they can have you bouncing. There isn’t really a track which blends the two which is perhaps a shame, but this only loses the album a slight amount of appeal. I guess if you mix the softer and harder styles in the wrong amounts then you can come dangerously close to writing a power ballad…
If I had to pluck a couple of standout tracks from the line-up I’d go for “Revelations and Ghosts” for the more emotional side and “Affirmation” from the heavier. It’s multi-layered vocals and kick-ass beat make it a hard one to better, though the other tracks have a damn good shot!
Constancy is a great collection of tracks and one that can be listened to over and over again. Each song is impressive on its own merit, but as part of a collection they support each other wonderfully well.
Constancy is out now.