I’ve been following Poland’s Retrospective since 2012’s “Lost in Perception”, and I’ve loved to see the band growing more and more confident on the international scene. The band has a new album coming out on September 27th called “Latent Avidity”, an interesting title, to be sure. Progressive Promotions Records is distributing this memorable album.
Retrospective have made themselves a name in the prog community over the years, especially with 2017’s “Re:Search”. The band currently includes Jakub Roszak on vocals, Beata Łagoda on keys and vocals, Maciej Klimek on guitar, Łukasz Marszałek on bass, and Robert Kusik on drums. On this album, and maybe even the last one, Beata has begun to share more of the vocal load, even singing whole songs herself.
The music here is Polish prog, which you know I love. The band is less atmospheric and melancholy, though, and maybe a bit groovier than most Polish prog, and there is this organic feeling to their music that makes it feel green and alive. Maybe it is the flowing keys, the emotional guitars, or the quirky bass lines, or maybe it’s the slower, more purposeful beats on most of the songs: whatever it is, the band knows how to make interesting, evocative music that reaches your heart and soul.
The band is one of many Polish bands. I cover many of them, but there are loads more that I just don’t have the time to present. However, Retrospective stands out from the pack for one main reason: dual vocalists. Male and female, they add a new layer to the Polish sound. Jakub has a distinct Polish accent that he seems to embrace fully, and I instantly recognize his voice. I also love the talking and introspective moments he uses for transitions. Beata has almost no accent at all, and her voice is strong and crystal clear for those big emotional breaks.
“Latent Avidity” feels absolutely marvelous. I loved “Re:Search” a couple years ago, but there were a couple tracks that didn’t fully sit well with me. On this album, there is none of that. Every single song is well-crafted, and full of great guitars, musical breaks that really get your blood flowing, and instrumentals that hang in the air like delicious fog.
There are a few songs I want to discuss in more detail. First, the singles are all three wonderful. “Still There” is mysterious and grey, with the dual vocalists taking full effect. “Programmed Fear” has a great video, and, even though the song didn’t hit me at first, I’ve really come to love the fast guitar licks and rising tide it offers. “The Seed Has Been Sown”, however, is the best of the singles. It is hefty and heavier than the rest, and Jakub’s voice is powerfully present.
My two favorites on the album are “What Will Be Next” and “Loneliness”. The former is an album ending 10+ minute track that winds and weaves, flirting with staccato licks that gradually become stronger and clearer. It is just a wonderful ending to a very strong album. Now, “Loneliness” is the only song on the album that features Beata as the lead vocalist, and she does a fantastic job, probably offering the catchiest chorus on the album. The second half of the song also contains the most memorable instrumental on the album, too, as it hangs thick and heavy around our hearts with a slowly fomenting guitar lick that really gets my head bobbing.
Retrospective deserve more attention, and I hope this album gives that to them. They have done an admirable job in producing layered, varied music that only gets better with each listen. If you love Polish prog, this is definitely for you. If you don’t like the heavy melancholy of other Polish bands, this also might be for you. Give Retrospective a try!