The rehearsal space of blues prog-rock band Messenger, an ambitious five-piece from London, must be one hell of a creative hub. This bunch only formed in 2012, but have already released their debut album to critical praise and are already gearing up to shake the rock world with second release Threnodies.
Despite their fledgling status, Messenger are determined to push the boundaries of contemporary rock and stretch the legs of our imagination with these seven five-minute-plus tracks. While the abrupt start of ‘70s trip-rock opener ‘Calyx’ already pricks up our ears, the extended plays of intricate guitar melodies, dark prog tones and surreal whirlwinds of alternate sounds are where the real intrigue lies in Threnodies. From the haunting, other-worldly ‘Nocturne’ to the dreamlike state of ‘Celestial Spheres’, these tracks are almost like swimming through another’s subconscious. It’s an unusual and curious experience.
However, outside of its mild experimentation and lengthy progressive structure, Threnodies doesn’t quite grit its teeth and push hard enough, in our opinion. If you’re going to attempt something of a sonic adventure, you really must be willing to think outside the box – way, way outside the box. Messenger dip their toes in the pool, but we’d much rather they dive in head-first; otherwise, we’re left with a slightly strange album that is still, ultimate, hard rock at heart.