When one thinks of Poland one doesn’t automatically have Prog bands pop in to their heads but more things like food and wars past instead. One typically and ignorantly often associates Prog music with the; UK, Germany, some Scandinavian countries, the US and France sad to say but it’s true, however, Poland has given us quite a few bands over the years in the world of Prog with the likes of; Exodus (1976-1985), Light Coorporation (since 2007), Millenium (since 1999), Quidam (1991-2002, 2004-current), SBB (on and off since 1971), Satellite (since 2000) and probably the most well known Polish Prog export, Riverside (since 2001) and it’s bassist’s Mariusz Duda side project, Lunatic Soul (Albums on and off since 2008) to which I allowed my ignorance to get in the way and thought they were British.
Newspaperflyhunting founded in 2006 in Bialystok, Poland, a five piece of what the band describes themselves as; Prog/Post/Space Rock with a couple of full length albums out, a compilation of the first ten years and two Eps under their belt and a name that’s more than a mouthful to spit out in one shot. Whilst surfing through a friend’s folders of albums I came across one larger folder called “Sounds Like Pink Floyd” which immediately caught my attention and after a listen through quite a few of the bands he had in this folder I was about ready to throw in the towel as most of them were awful interpretations of Floyd classics with some butchered beyond recognition. But I digress and that music like beauty is in the eye of the beholder buuuuuuuuuuuuuut………. So I managed to suffer through a few other albums until I got farther down the list and came across this band to which I had to ask myself, “with a name THAT long how bad could they be?” By the time I finish saying their name I will have gone through a song or two. But then three, four, five and six more, I was hooked on this band. Their songs are slower like many a Prog song tends to start but I have always found that when listening to European and UK Prog bands they tend to focus on the elements that which make the genre what it’s all about and not take the high energized avenues of barking machine gun guitars, speed freak drumming and operatic vocals which Prog dipped in to for a while and got lost somewhere along the way and “Math Rock” and “Math Metal” was confused to be Progressive Rock which it’s similar in many regards but isn’t Prog in the classic sense. Bands like; “Soen“, “Empty Yard Experiment“, “Absolace” and “Agent” have all mastered that technique of keeping the Prog flames alive in their music while stretching the envelope with more metal essences in their step and all are excellent examples and excellent bands.
Newspaperflyhunting’s offering to the Prog Halls is their album “Iceberg Soul” from 2014 has kept their shoes on the same feet as their previous albums and maintained their true-to-form selves and gave us a great album that expands minds and music combined. With songs ranging form to just under four minutes to just under ten the band spared no expense in making it sound just right complete with sound effects and a surround like atmosphere to take you off the stratosphere of earth to anywhere but where you are at now. Preferring to sing in English instead of their native tongue they have opened the floodgates for other Euro Prog bands to do so as well, that is to say that a larger market will be more unobstructed to their music than if they sang in Polish which would garner attention more so at home than abroad. I wouldn’t associate this band with sounding like The Floyd but sounding just the way they wanted to be, original which is very hard in this day and age since there are literally hundreds to thousands of bands out there and we are exposed to a truckload of them through radio, friends, internet stations, YoutTube, Facebook, iTunes, and any other media source you can think of rather than word of mouth. Not much of that word of mouth stuff happening anymore but in small pockets it still thrives.
The current lineup;
– Michał Pawłowski / guitars, vocals
– Jacek Bezubik / guitars, vocals
– Gosia Sutuła / bass, vocals
– Krzysztof Sarna / drums
– Beata Grzegorczyk-Andrejczuk / Fender Rhodes piano
The album incorporates the mild passages that Prog asks of you and it also has a heavier element to it that surprises you when you least expect it as the band does not come across as one that would have that distortion guitar effect in their music but it plays off quite well. The longer pieces makes you think of Annie Haslam and Renaissance’s song, “Mother Russia” with the vocal arrangements and length but this song truly goes down different venues than Renaissance did. Their mainstay was utilizing Haslam’s five octave vocal range as a tool of passion and impression whereas Newspaperflyhunting combines all of their efforts in to one bundle and delivers a great and command performance. The duet vocals of Michal and Gosia elope beautifully on the songs giving you a dual personality to the band’s dynamic which I find very attractive here, they’ve executed it well and their vocal ranges blend together nicely. The use of the Fender Rhodes Piano by Beata segues in a sense of a Doors fan to me and some parts of certain songs have that Doors-esque feel to them in particular the longer pieces by the band. Various images of other histories come to mind depending on the song, often you feel whisked away to an ancient Egyptian like society but on a different planet and other times you are in an underwater wonder world run by some unknown species yet discovered by man. You can smell the old Prog albums just emanating form this record as to who they probably listen to and idolize which is also a great homage to those bands before them that have helped pave the way for this band to emerge amongst the chaos of “pop” culture today. The fastest they get is about a midway range where you aren’t sure if it will speed up or slow down, again infusing that recipe of Prog by also changing tempo and timbre to alter the mood perfectly in true Prog pitch.
They never exceed their limits here but have definitely pushed the envelope musically to the point where it should go and held on to it for the duration of the record which was a brilliant move on their part because a lot of bands focus most of their attention on a few songs and let a few others slide under the radar substandard to either fill in the record or due to the nature of burn out, tiredness, and even laziness at times! It’s been known to happen from time to time. Of course bands don’t acknowledge this till years and years after the album has been out and accidentally let it slip in an interview or deliberately depending on the level animosity going on if there is any. But Newspaperflyhunting has always put the most in to their albums from the ones I have so far which is happily to say most of them. I did however catch a bit of a Pink Floyd sneak that riff in no one will notice moment in the song “Grassmemory“, starting at 2:30 minute mark they almost note for note copy the ‘walkdown’ from ‘C#m’ to ‘A maj’ a couple of times which can be found in the song “Echoes” from 1971’s Meddle album on Harvested records. Caught ya! That’s ok, we’ll forgive them for it this time as it was probably something they didn’t realize at the time or did and it’s a paid homage to the band or that song but either way it’s there.
The moods and timbres range from light to dark throughout the album swaying generously with tempos and vocalizations giving it a wide variety of thought put in to it and equally to your impressions of the record after you reach it’s ending of cold arctic winds blowing as it fades to nothingness. I love the melancholy in this album as it delves in to the soul of the album and the musicians themselves as they expose their emotions and feelings throughout in each song. Well on their way to moving farther in to the genre and the world of Prog and the Friars of the Prog Assembly will welcome them to the Halls one day with open arms as they have paid their dues through great albums and the subsequent tours they will endure.
Highly recommend you checking out their site and acquiring their albums from there as well. Worthwhile listening to. You can also source them out on YouTube and hear their sounds there. Great band, great sound and looking forward to hearing them get better and better over time. They’re more than half way there now. Enjoy.