Messenger – Illusory Blues by Mark Hunter

Band Name: Messenger
Album Name: Illusory Blues
Rating: 4/5
Distributor: Svart Records
Released: 2014
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Band Website:
Illusory Blues

Band line-up:

Khaled Lowe – Guitars/Vocals
Barnaby Maddick –  Guitars/Vocals
Jaime Gomez Arellano – Drums/Percussion
Dan Knight – Guitars/Keyboards
James Leach – Bass



Track listing:

1.The Return
2.Piscean Tide
3.Dear Departure
4.The Perpetual Glow of a Setting Sun
7.Let the Light In

I have to admit, I have been finding it extremely hard to write about this record. It is genuinely like nothing else I have ever listened to before, which in itself is testement to the talents of the band.

Messenger are a multiculteral gahtering of musicians based in London that came together in 2012. Now, just a couple of years on, they bring us their  debut offering, ‘Illusory Blues’. After looking into the band, I find that they were named as The Guardian’s band of the day on the 21st March, somewhat adding to the expectations of this album.

In their bio, it states that the band “dwell equally in the earthly realm of folk music and in the celestial void of progressive psychedelia”. This I totally get. The folky guitars and beautifly harmonised vocals, together with heavenly violin that re-occur throughtout, give this record a very unique feel.

The first three tracks, ‘The Return’, ‘Piscean Tide’ and ‘Dear Departure’, would have you floating away in an almost meditative state of mind.  I do think that they dwell on this a little too long. If this carried on for much longer I don’t think I would have been too chilled out to carry on with the rest of my day.
However, just as I think that this state of meditation is never going to end, there is an injection of pace and direction as you reach the halfway point of ‘The Perpetual Glow of a Setting Sun’. This signals a change in the album as it almost seems like the opening tracks have been building up to this point as we reach ‘Midnight’. Easily my favourite track on the album.

‘Midnight’ almost sums up the whole album in itself. Starting with folky guitars and harmonised vocals leading in to and now more driven and progressive sound. It is at this point in the album that the introduce the use of some heavier riffs to really drive things forward giving the songs a darker side that we hadn’t seen in the earlier tracks.
Penultimate track ‘Somniloquist’ almost serves as reminder that ‘Illisory Blues’ is a journey.

Starting in an idyllic and celestial place, before taking a darker and more psychedelic turn. A powerful guitar solo drives you out of the darkness and as the lyrics say, “suddenly I can see through the darkness outside”. Before you know it we are back where we started with final track ‘Let the Light in’, returning to a similar sound to the beginning of the album.

While the other tracks don’t carry the same weight as ‘Midnight’ and ‘Somniloquist’, the album as a whole works beautifully. It also shows massive potenial from a very talented group of muscians. Having already found a unique sound, Messenger are already on the right track and I can only see them getting better and better with time and experience.

If you want to check them out, ‘Illusory blues’ is out now and the band are also playing Camden Rocks, London at the end of May 2014.

Review by Mark Hunter