Released by: March 31st, 2017.
Released on: The Laser's Edge
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Future Hopes is the first album from Norwegian art rockers White Willow since 2011’s TERMINAL TWILIGHT. The band sees a return of Mattias Olsson on drums, Jacob Holm-Lupo on guitars, Ketil Einarsen on flutes, Lars Fredrik Frøislie on keys, and Ellen Andrea Wang on bass. The new addition is singer, Venke Knutson, who is known for a series of top ten charting pop songs in Norway some years ago. She has also worked with Jacob Holm-Lupo and Mattias Olsson prior to this release on ARDOR from the project Opium Cartel.
White Willow weaves a musical tapestry across Future Hopes that touches upon prog rock, electronica, pop, new age, and jazz into something that reminds me a bit of Ayreon with its heavy use of synthesizers. While most of the songs have their own identity, the overarching tone is dreamy and melancholic, and Ms. Knutson’s vocals add a fragility that complements the music.
Overall, the album is pretty good and is pleasant change of place than your typical progressive offering. My main critique is that the songs bleed into each other a little bit, but on further listens you are rewarded with intricacies not noticed initially.