Iona – Live in London

Iona defies explanation. It’s not to say they’re incomprehensible. Actually, they’re quite accessible and easy on the ears. In a way, Iona is a subdued version of The Flower Kings. Where Roine Stolt’s entourage takes a jazzier approach, this particular bevy is folksier in nature; consanguineous to Mostly Autumn. For those outside the circle – who have considered inquiry into the band – Live in London is the answer. With that said, it should be a part of your collection.

The recorded event features a sundry suite of songs from their discography. What makes them special is that their wall of sound is not all that bombastic. Voluminous and rich in content whilst also being somewhat tame, they have a style that is ostensibly inimitable. While it may require a thesaurus to comprehend my point, absorption of their music is surely effortless.

What’s more than trivial is that their solos and side projects have been kept to a minimum. Even though Iona is their home and base, and they wander rarely from it, they have little need to sprawl out from their safe harbor. While relatively unknown, Iona is significant, or at least should be significant, in the genre of Progressive Rock, because they are comprised of superstar musicians. In particular, Dave Bainbridge is always a maestro on the guitar as he hits notes that often cause awe. Their singer, Joanne Hogg, on the other hand, is warm in speech and radiant in song. She also plays the keyboards. Additionally, Troy Donockley widens the band’s radius with a variety of pipes and whistles. This unlikely dimension creates a delightful incarnation. And, like Lucius Vorenus and Titus Pullo from the chronicles of Rome, bassist, Phil Barker, and drummer, Frank van Essen, are reliable and stoic in contrast to the luminous trio that heads the senate. Altogether, the quintet is extraordinary and they are in top-form on this dual-disc release.

The loveliest pieces include “Wind Off the Lake” due to its engaging segues, “Factory of Magnificent Souls” due to insightful and beautifully sung lyrics, and the medley of “Casterligg” and “Reels” for its stamina, bravery, and heart. Yes, the set has highlights, but you’ll want to start at the beginning and leave it alone. That way, you experience the next best thing to hearing them in person. From the sound of it, the concert was not only charming but entertaining as well. If you don’t believe me, play it.

Incidentally, the real-time doesn’t truly necessitate analysis. It merely entails a tally of cheers, jeers, and claps. In this case, the ovation irrefutably explicates my approbation, and that measurement in the end is all that’s eminent.

Ok, now you can put your book of synonymous references away.

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