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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Break of Reality - Ten


Break of Reality – Ten
2014, Break of Reality

Eastman School of Music alum Break of Reality has been plying its distinct brand of cello rock for nearly a decade now.  The New York City-based quartet has released a series of albums that run the gamut from original tunes to dynamic covers; developing a dedicated following.  The band recently released their fifth album; a collection of original tunes entitled Ten.

Ten opens with the self-referential strains of “Helix”, driven by a serious rock and roll sensibility.  Lyric and percussive cello lines intertwine, with percussion providing a sense of sanity and stability.  The energy here is tremendous, and Break of Reality sounds like they’re ready to explode.  The listener is wrapped up in a revolving wall of sound from the outset.  “Storm’s End” is a highly artistic piece of baroque pop.  The rhythms are pure rock and roll, yet the melody line has an early Italian madrigal feel.  This is serious music for fans of classical music, film scores and unusual rock and roll hybrids.  Break of Reality explores gorgeous and complex moods on “Star”, building pensive swells with a sagacious sense of internal energy.  The band uses dual melody lines that circumscribe beauty with an edge of minor key darkness.

“Drift Apart” begins with a rhythmic pizzicato base and adding a lyric, mid-to-low range melody line.  You’ll want to close your eyes and soak in the depth and breadth of sound here; it’s simply gorgeous.  “Nine Deep” has a dark and percussive underpinning.  The lyric melodic build is right out front, creating an atmosphere that is powerful and moving.  Break of Reality changes moods with “Light the Fuse”, a quietly rolling composition that transitions into a thunderous dance.  “Uprising” begins with an aboriginal sound; an ancient feel to the percussion.  Break of Reality takes a more atmospheric approach this time, building musical scenery that is lush and full of dramatic turns.

“Levy” is a pensive and perambulating piece; an intriguing orchestral still life full of movement and color.  The band transitions on “Other Worlds” to more of a mid-range musical score sound.  There’s a bit too much center in this recording, particularly in the early going, but this is more an issue of production than of composition.  The breaks in this piece have a stunningly dark beauty in them full of rhythms and tonal rhyme.  Ten closes with “Six”, with Break of Reality utilizing layered melody lines and incorporating glock and xylophone in with their distinctive 3-cello sound.  There’s a lazy energy that runs throughout the piece, and at five minutes in length this might become a bit overwhelming, but it is a quietly ambitious effort that is off the beaten path.

Break of Reality reaches for new heights on Ten, going all original with a stylistic approach that blends the best elements of classical, rock and pop music styles.  The compositions on Ten are highly original and full of life, and Break of Reality use killer phrasing and a nearly flawless sense of timing and presence to build a collection of songs that will live in your mind long after the tunes have faded from your ears.

Rating:  4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

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