If you’ve been following us since we first established Burnt Coffee Inc. about a year ago, you may already be familiar with the name Egor Lappo. The man’s release schedule is incredibly consistent. His debut album Way Without Light came out in July 2018, followed by his second album Azimuth (which we reviewed) in August 2019. That brings us to 2020 with his new EP Make the Sun Shine More, which came out on July 10th. His schedule isn’t the only thing consistent about his releases – the quality is always there too. If you’re a fan of progressive rock or progressive metal, you’ll find something to love in Lappo’s music, whether it’s the righteous riffs, catchy melodies, or bold compositions. The breadth of variety across Lappo’s releases shows that he is a true fan of all things prog, but along the way he’s also carved out his own niche.
So what about this latest release? Right away with opener “The Brief Glimpses” we’re treated to the sharp, crisp production style that Lappo employs throughout the entire EP. The song serves as an overture, a brief glimpse, if you will, of what’s to come. It’s a strong composition, but the EP really kicks into full gear as soon as the snare drum hits in the next track “Moonlight”. Lappo weaves in several successful time signature and key changes over the course of the song’s six plus minutes. But the compositional ambition isn’t the only draw here – Lappo makes excellent use of melody, making each section its own hook. My main critique of his last release Azimuth was the vocals. On Make the Sun Shine More, it’s clear that Lappo has become a much more confident, formidable singer – an impressive feat for only a years’ time.
“Make the Sun Shine Less” sits at the center of the EP’s tracklist, and for good reason too. With close competition from the track prior, this song is the highlight of Make the Sun Shine More. Massive, sweeping chords greet us at the start of this track and prepare us for a grand journey. The strong vocal melodies are present here too, but the song also makes great use of rhythmic motifs. Everything builds to this triumphant bridge, where guitar arpeggios and vocal harmonies join forces to herald in pure bliss. If that wasn’t enough, the song ends by throttling into an outer space chase powered by double kicks, trippy synths, and tremolo guitars – ya know, classic prog metal stuff.
I think what I appreciate most about the EP is all of the little intricacies in each song. Lappo creates different worlds with every key change, even if it’s just for a brief moment. There are also a ton of fills, variations, and flourishes snuck in through each song. The syncopated fills are particularly tasteful, like at 2:20 of “See You Again” or 0:46 of “Make the Sun Shine Less”. It’s all impressive, but never over-indulgent. And while I’m talking about all the embellishments, I have to admit I’m a sucker for that vintage synth leads on “Moonlight” and “See You Again”.
It can be tough to find the right balance in the tracklist for a full-length album, but I think that an EP is tougher in the sense that there isn’t much room for pacing. The sun shines more on the EP’s first half, casting a shadow over the last two tracks. Neither “See You Again” or “Salvation” are bad songs by any means (“See You Again” has an incredible guitar solo by the way), but they pale in comparison to the thrill of what came before. I do think these songs would have fared better on a full-length, where there is more space to craft a narrative pace-wise. One slower song would have been enough to break things up nicely, but the EP could have used another energetic track to really hammer things home. Finally, the closer “Salvation” sort of just trails off, feeling like it should be leading into something grand.
So with that said, this is a strong EP despite the issues with pacing. I do appreciate Lappo’s more focused vision with this EP, and his creativity in regards to its intricacies. It’s also fascinating that besides the drums (played by Ivan Shishkin), Lappo played all instruments and wrote/sang all lyrics, in addition to mixing and mastering this thing! Make the Sun Shine More shows incredible promise for whatever project he’s already working on next, but I’m confident that I’ll be going back to this EP a ton while we wait!
Egor Lapo’s new EP Make the Sun Shine More was released on July 10th.
Best Tracks: Make the Sun Shine Less, Moonlight
Weakest Tracks: Salvation
FFO: Devin Townsend, Rush, Ayreon
Overall Score: B+