Welcome to the Egor Lappo blog, where we discuss all things Egor Lappo. Seriously though, I’ve covered Egor enough times on this blog that I’m starting to run out of clever intros so let me just cut to the chase – Trancevoicer is Egor’s best album yet.
In my review of Azimuth, my main critique was Lappo’s middling vocals. On the subsequent EP Make the Sun Shine More, he improved his vocal capabilities to the point where that was no longer a valid critique. On Trancevoicer, Lappo has fully come into his own as a singer. The man now shoots for those high tenor G#’s like a champ. The timing of these leaps in vocal ability couldn’t be better, as Lappo dons his storyteller cap to regale the listener with a tale of his own creation. Trancevoicer is a concept album centered around the story of a renegade caught between two worlds.
Perhaps saying this is his best album to date undersells how good his previous work is. The talent has always been there, and Lappo’s songwriting has always been intriguing. Make the Sun Shine More even made my EPs of the Year list last year. But Trancevoicer is on another level. Every entry on the tracklist gels together so nicely – the lad doesn’t miss (see the “Weakest Tracks” selection below)! The pacing is almost flawless; Lappo skillful guides the listener through the album’s story with purposeful shifts in mood. There’s never a dull moment. Billowy beds of synth and honey-sweet guitar melodies serve as the hallmark of this album as the story progresses from hopeful to tense, and through peaks and valleys of joy and despair.
Trancevoicer is really just hit after hit. I’d posit that 6 of the 10 tracks could have easily been chosen as the album’s lead single. I mean you’ve got songs like “Turncoat Allies” and “Contention” which have choruses that are practically tailor-made for sing-alongs. I could easily see that weird fuck James Corden kidnapping Egor to drive along with him so that he can belt these pop rock ragers for you cable-viewing pleasure. Then you’ve got “Ship 1426”, which is basically what would’ve happened if 80’s Rush took cues from the best of the one-hit-wonders of that era (plus some Van Halen guitar harmonics added for good measure).
I’ve made some wild comparisons in the past (like my recent comparison of Comatose to 311) , and I have no intentions of stopping. While there are obvious parallels to Devin Townsend, Rush, Lonely Robot, and Lappo’s plethora of Europop influences here, the song “Sparks in the Night” reminds me of Muse’s better days instrumentally, and dare I say the vocal melodies sound like something Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong would write back when he gave a shit. And if you’re asking me to double down (you probably aren’t), there are even hints of Andrew Lloyd Webber on “On Such a Sad Note”. I could sit here and make bold comparisons all day (but again, no one’s asking me to…), but the fact of the matter is that Trancevoicer sees Lappo only further carve out a take on prog that is distinctly his own.
I’m finding trouble finding much to critique, but for the sake of saving this from becoming a love letter, let’s get into the critiques. I don’t think the opening track “The Renegade” is as strong as it needs to be for an album opener. I think it had some solid moments (the “check all the engines” post-chorus and literally every synth choice being two examples), but it doesn’t have the pep-in-it’s-step, the urgency, needed to fully hype up the rest of this album. It’s a good song nonetheless, just maybe not as grandiose as it could be.
Overall, I’m floored by Trancevoicer. This album perfectly blends the grandiose eccentricities of prog with the concise and pointed songwriting of pop. If you love prog, you’re not gonna want to miss this album. If you hate prog, you’ll probably like this album even more! Trancevoicer is definitely a crowd pleaser, yet it still maintains the integrity, originality, and quality any music nerd seeks in a new album.
Egor Lappo‘s new album Trancevoicer was released on March 19th via self-release.
Best Tracks: Sparks in the Night, The Mask of Kindness, Turncoat Allies, With You
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: Devin Towsend, Ghost, Lonely Robot