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Differences - 1985 The Voyage

ARTIST: Differences
ALBUM: The Voyage
LABEL: Frizz Bee Records
SERIAL: Frizzbee 7
YEAR: 1985
CD REISSUE: 1991, SI Music, Simply 4


LINEUP: Ardie Westdijk - keyboards, backing vocals * Aad Valk - lead & backing vocals, bass pedals, bass guitar, harmonica * Gerard Lock - drums, percussion, backing vocals * Arjen Westdijk - lead & backing vocals, guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Helix Harmony * 02 Asgarith's Song * 03 True Or False * 04 The Voyage * 05 Daily Things * 06 Battle Of Somme * 07 The Melody * 08 Five O'clock

'The Voyage' is one of the more interesting indie label Dutch prog albums I've come across but frustrated there's very little info about Differences to be found anywhere. We do know they were signed to the obscure and woefully directionless Amsterdam based Frizz Bee imprint which meant little in terms of Differences' career trajectory. Picked up for reissue by SI Music in 1991, a second CD 'A World Of Difference' appeared a year later. While a tad more pop oriented, it was still an excellent release although sadly that was it for a band that I felt deserved better. Keyboardist Ardie Westdijk joined Ice for 2005's Pendragon-ish 'The Saga' CD, but his brother Arjen and remaining band members have disappeared.

The Songs
There's a strong post 1976 Genesis flavour to this album but also Camel, Supertramp and a touch of Marillion in some of the vocal parts. Although nothing here is groundbreaking it's very pastoral and quite pretty at times with huge synth washes throughout the eight cuts. Opener 'Helix Harmony' is certainly a standout with a strong 'Wind & Wuthering' melodic line and riffing straight from the Steve Rothery school of neo-prog guitar. 'Asgarith's Song' sounds like a dark version of Supertramp both in its Francophone accordion sounds and vocal but the set's cornerstone is the 17 minute 'The Melody' which alternates between Fish-styled eccentricity and prime-time Camel with creative keyboard work from Ardie Westdijk. Are those Whale sounds I hear? Closer 'Five o'Clock' again brings in a Supertramp 'Even In The Quietest Moments' influence which is alright by me.

In Summary
Both Differences discs are easy to find and still really cheap. I don't know if this was a case of SI Music overly hopeful and pressing far too many copies or the prog public just didn't give a damn. In either case, true music lovers are the winners and Differences have big crossover appeal, especially on their second release. Nice stuff, treat yourself.

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#1 | gdazegod on February 25 2015 23:59:25
Cool cover, rare band. I did pick up a few of the SI Music releases back in the early 90's. Never saw their 2nd CD though..
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