‘Lies And Butterflies’
Since their inception in 1986 and the subsequent release of their debut album ‘Theatre of the Mind’ 10 years later, Mystery have tread on the line between the pomp of AOR, classic progressive rock and a much more modern neo-prog sound. Although the band have generally moved away from the big arena AOR sound of Journey, Styx and Asia, to one which incorporates the more technically inclusive music of Porcupine Tree and Peter Gabriel era Genesis to the musical art forms of Saga and Yes. 22 years have passed since ‘Theatre of Mind’ was released and on the back of their previous critically acclaimed ‘Delusion Rain’ in 2015, this year, the French-Canadian band release their seventh studio album ‘Lies and Butterflies’.
‘Lies and Butterflies’ follows on perfectly from its predecessor and can even be considered not only its counterpart, but also its sequel. Just like those big, grandiose progressive rock albums that went before the band in the 70’s, ‘Lies and Butterflies’ sounds so warm, and welcoming, it is not constrained by unnaturally precise and almost mechanical drumming which makes a lot of neo-progressive rock sound stale and lacking soul. Instead, this album has all the points which would appeal to progressive rock fans; ‘Where Dreams Come Alive’ has beautiful flute passages that remind the listener of the middle section to ‘Firth of Fifth’ by Genesis, whilst having all the accessibility of Rush, particularly with a bassline that is straight out of Geddy Lee’s textbook and the Rush homage does not end there ‘Chrysalis’ contains the staccato beat found in Rush prog anthems ‘Cygnus X-1’, ‘By-Tor & The Snow Dog’ and ‘The Necromancer’.
Michel St-Pere has guided his band through both good and bad times and although the band that started on this path is now a far cry from what St-Pere has assembled now, Mystery have evolved, they have matured as a band and with ‘Lies and Butterflies’ this really comes through. New vocalist Jean Pageau shows the years of experience behind his voice, having all the melody of Geddy Lee, Benoit David and Steve Perry, whilst having the raw power of James LaBrie allowing ‘Lies and Butterflies’ to be appreciated by an audience more acquainted with heavier music.
All of this makes ‘Lies and Butterflies’ very enjoyable, it shows Mystery may finally begin to start getting the recognition they deserve. However, this album is not initially capture the imagination and does take a few listens to enjoy, ‘Lies and Butterflies’ will not be for everyone and it does have the charm which would only appeal to those who like progressive rock, but once it clicks, the latest Mystery album is a work of art.