The British Trance trio named Above & Beyond, consisting of members Tony McGuinness, Jono Grant, and Paavo Siljamäki just released their sixth studio album called ‘Common Ground’ on January 26th. In anticipation for the legendary trio’s album release, they trickled out pre-released singles from the album starting in May of 2017. With the first single ‘Alright Now’ being dropped on May 14th of 2017, Above & Beyond gave their fans (who are very loyal) a glimpse into what would come about the sound of their new album.
Certain vocalists in the discography of A&B, such as Zoe Johnston and Richard Bedford have already collaborated with huge success with the trio. I highly suggest listening to ‘We’re All We Need’ or ‘Blue Sky Action’ to get a taste of the beauty of A&B’s productions.
As for the album itself? The intro called ‘The Inconsistency Principle’ is a chilled-out soundscape that utilizes many sounds from the next song on the album, ‘My Own Hymn’. Zoe Johnston’s angelic voice brings the feelings and makes the beginning of this album a real treat. The whole album compliments itself nicely with a relatively diverse sound. In many cases the ‘drop’ of songs on ‘Common Ground’ utilize vocals as the center stage act, adding a simple kick and snare combination like in ‘Bittersweet & Blue’ with Richard Bedford. Finally, the album culminates with a completely vocal-free album titled track ‘Common Ground’. It’s a great outro that will give those who bought the vinyl a complete experience after listening through the whole album.
With all that being said, the British trio has quite a strong discography, so it can be hard to not use prior releases as a reference point for their newer music. In my humble opinion, I give ‘Common Ground’ by Above & Beyond a 4/5. A slower moving album than its predecessors, Common Ground takes an even more haunting path vocally, but keeps the famous Above & Beyond sound with it. As I would absolutely recommend this album to any one of my friends, I would also recommend checking out other Above & Beyond albums such as ‘We’re All We Need’ and ‘Group Therapy’.
How will this album translate to a live audience? Known for playing beautifully energetic and lengthy sets, those of Above & Beyond are called ‘group therapy’ for a reason. Their excellent usage of haunting vocals meets juicy synths and chord progressions that will make tears flow from your eyes like Niagara. Undoubtedly whoever gets to push the button (see video below) at their Common Ground tour will never forget the experience.