We’ve all had times when we were looking forward to certain music, games, or films that just never seemed to materialize. Often, it’s the most brilliant ones that get away for whatever reason. I know that the sophomore album from Sound of Contact was a hugely anticipated release, and then things fell apart in the background. Released on 1/1/19, In Continuum’s “Acceleration Theory” is the resurrection of this hope.
In Continuum includes two of the original four members of Sound of Contact: Dave Kerzner on lead vocals, keyboards, and acoustic guitar; and Matt Dorsey on bass, guitar, and vocals. The project also includes Gabriel Agudo, Leticia Wolf, and Jon Davison on vocals; Randy McStine on guitar; and Marco Minnemann on drums. Guests also include: Nick D’Virgilio, John Wesley, Fernando Perdomo, Steve Hackett, and Steve Rothery. This is an immense work of collaboration and musicianship, as you can tell.
Now, this album may sound familiar. Yes, the style closely mirrors that of Sound of Contact’s debut, to the surprise of no one. We are starting to learn just how much of the writing on that album was contributed by Dave and Matt, as I think we all assumed Simon Collins did most of the work. This album feels like the natural continuation of that work, and shows that Dave and Matt were a huge force in bringing us that masterpiece. Dave, actually, has mentioned that he used music that he wrote for the SoC follow up to craft this album. From my perspective, the album has less of a melancholy haze and more of a genuine display of light and hope.
The music is progressive rock, leaning towards pop substantially. The style is quite airy and otherworldly at points, which makes sense, and you will hear plenty of flowing keys and emotive guitar solos to accent emotional points in the story. Much of it feels abstract, as if to portray colors and feelings. This is all tied together well with wonderful vocal melodies from multiple singers and strong individual performances.
The story isn’t entirely clear in my head, but it seems to be about a well-meaning alien who is captured by the government, but then escapes. She, called “Alien A”, and a lonely farmer bond through various events, and she shows him the secrets of love and the universe. Not only that, but she shows him where humankind has fallen so very short. It’s a deeply moving experience that feels whole and well written. One of my favorite parts of this story is the fact that the alien had come to show us meaning and better our lives, but we used and abused her. It’s a stark social commentary that I think is relevant.
The album opens well with the searing instrumental title track, and moves into “Crash Landing”, a fantastic track that feels textured and meaningful, not to mention its great chorus. “Scavengers” is another song in the first half that grabs my attention; with cutting guitar licks and awesome vocals, no less.
The album really hits its stride in the second half, in my opinion. Starting with “Racing through the Past”, the album takes on more of an otherworldly quality, offering some truly astounding moments of texture and peace. “Racing through the Past” itself is more electronic-based, with textures and memories flying through our minds in fleeting and beautiful fashion. “AlienA”, though, may be my favorite on the album. Its off kilter sound is unlike anything else on the album. It is highly melodic while also feeling genuinely eccentric.
The album ends really well, too. “Man Unkind” is a rocking track with powerful bass and the final emotional vocals on the album. “Banished” is a cinematic instrumental ending, and, man, is it awesome. The surging keys and the blast beats end this album in spectacular fashion. These tracks accentuate the social commentary aspects of the story, leaving us feeling a bit empty as to the plight of the main characters, who we have come to love by that time.
In Continuum has produced an album that is pretty much everything I wanted. It is atmospheric and rich, with lush instrumentals and powerful guest solos. The concept of the album is also well-told and brilliantly laid out, just as I had hoped. I don’t know if we will get more from this project, but I certainly hope we do.