Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.
Overall Album Impressions
Andrew LeSynt’s Second Chance is a tapestry of retro synth sounds woven into a well produced, emotional and expressive journey down the pathways of nostalgia, dreams and melancholy yearning. The way in which Andrew LeSynth combines strong melodic writing with a luscious range of synths and excellent performances results in musical magic.
There are many stellar elements to Second Chance so it’s hard to know where to start. One of my favourite parts of the album is Andrew LeSynt’s melodies. He crafts melodic content that is expressive and clear as it unfolds. His real ability lies in writing melodies that convey nuanced emotions, all in the space of one track. Each melody takes me on an emotional journey as it goes along.
The guitar performances on Second Chance are another powerful draw for me. Andrew LeSynt is a gifted player who has a feel for choosing great guitar tones to suit each track. His solos are intricate and full of expression and the guitar is deployed at the right times to generate strong auditory imagery. All in all, the performances are so pleasing to hear.
All of the synths on the album have been thoughtfully chosen in my view. There’s a great variety, but it never falls into auditory overkill. Each synth adds a particular colour, timbre or tone to the music that helps Andrew LeSynt to convey a certain emotion or auditory image in his tracks. I enjoy how he skillfully weaves the different synth instruments together to form a cohesive whole.
My final comment on the elements that make Second Chance work so well is reserved for the album's production quality. Every track has a clean, clear sound and the blending of different musical elements is seamless. The sonic profile of each element keeps it separate from the others, but they mingle in a way that brings them all together.
My Favourite Tracks Analyzed
“The Rise Of Zargasus” comes to life as a bell tolls and a monumental rumble rushes through before vast bass growls and electric guitar washes in gleaming waves along with a glowing synth that flashes in expanding note patterns. There’s a massive drum fill and embracing, medium-high synth carries the uplifting melody.
Contrasting synths tumble while the guitar’s energizing propulsion joins the drums and bass. The electric guitar carries a well-crafted, heartening melody leaping out over the driving weight of drums and bass as an elevated synth flashes.
The lead synth melody has a yearning feeling as it moves. After a brief sonic sweep, the lead guitar arcs through the music, creating dynamism and hope as it soars out. The steady, resonant pulse below the track’s musical elements lifts them further. Reverberating, metallic synth trembles in waves for a moment before a drum fill and sirens jump in. Soothing synth chords flow above the rapid bass as a trumpeting synth solo bursts out.
The guitar launches into a spinning solo that's full of warmth and life over the battering drums and cascading bass. The “A" section melody dances along over undulating bass before the guitar calls out. The guitar reaches into the sky, as descending synths move counter to it. The main melody flashes in again along with constantly driving guitar before the music comes to an end with a metallic sound and lost, distant piano that moves alone into open space.
Dense, forceful bass rumbles out in expansive pulses as a rising flow of distant, medium-high synth moves above it to start “Crockett And Tubbs.” A punchy drumbeat shapes the music along with propulsive bass. There’s a steady, warming flow as brightly shining synth tumbles in between the full-voiced guitar that carries a dreaming melody accented by sparkling higher sounds.
The electric guitar melody superbly combines gentle emotion with a sense of rising energy. The rhythmic pulse pushes the music on as medium-high synth surges between leaping guitar notes. Once again, the lead guitar melody flies through the music, imbuing it with nostalgia. Throbbing, deep drums support a wandering synth pattern as it unwinds. Ultra-high synth rapidly skips in before resonant chords burst along with steadily pulsing bass.
After a drum fill, the main melody caresses my ears over the continuous drum and bass pulse. The heavy bass throbs into open space, briefly broken by shimmering high notes as gruff chords swell into the music. Now a synth solo twirls and intricate notes interlock before a return to the main melodic segment. Urgent, slightly shadowed chords move over the relentless drum and bass oscillation before jagged synths pulsate and fade.
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Frolicking notes jump forward to continue the sense of action imparted by the drums, bass and arpeggios. The guitar slowly flows in extending, gleaming notes that have a tinge of melancholy, despite the unrelenting feeling of movement that fills the track. Now the guitar echoes out over open space and the bass throb carries on into silence.
Harsh, rapidly intertwining synths form an uneven pulse echoing out over deeply flowing lower sounds to commence "Into The Night." The driving drum attack of the and oscillating bass support a medium-high, taut synth singing a melody full of energy mingled with a sense of loss.
The unctuous guitar is imbued with a longing that I find strongly affecting. Tumbling synths fall through the music as a tight, shimmering lead synth carrying the dynamic, but pained melody. Now the lead guitar soars in again and medium-high, interlocking synths spill around one another and pulsating, glittering sound dances out.
The tightly woven guitar solo is full of musical detail as it balances mournful emotion with more hopeful sensations. The rhythms’ guiding energy joined by a glowing, rapidly twirling arpeggio before falling quiet.
“Season’s End” starts with street sounds and falling rain that are joined by resonant, medium-low synth sweeping in a slow arpeggio that adds sonic depth and texture. Full, retro-sounding drums and pulsating bass match the tempo of the lush arpeggio as it undulates while chimes sparkle with delicate light.
The guitar’s clean, sharp sound plays softly flickering notes as the medium-high, tender lead synth carries a melody full of longing. The guitar takes up the melody, singing out in an aching line over the steadily throbbing drums and luscious bass. Quick, glowing light moves through and the bass oscillates alone before a tide of deep, enfolding sound sweeps in.
The sound of traffic and rain moves behind a slow, steady synth oscillation and bursts of slightly gruff chords. Reverberant waves of mingled drums, bass and flaring synth support the guitar melody’s well-crafted sense of nostalgic reminiscence. Delicate waves of intertwining synth arpeggios are underpinned by solid drums as the music fades.
Wind rushes through in a stormy breath while a jumping, pulsing drumbeat and solid bass launches a dynamic rhythm to kick off “Seattle Nights 1982.” Bursts of trumpeting, sharp-edged synth leap in and add light to the proceedings. Now the guitar unfurls in a melody that flies along with encouraging energy.
The melody creates a wonderful sensation of youthful exuberance and hope as glittering chimes flicker through.
Below the other elements, the drums and bass keep the propulsion going. The guitar has a frolicking feeling before piano chords calm things down. Now guitar howls in a wildly cascading, intricate solo over the energetic beat. Quickly gleaming synth flashes further impart a feeling of action to the track. The lead guitar climbs in to convey a sense of joy before piano chords add a more easy going sensation as crystal chimes ring out.
After a speedy drum fill, the guitar vibrates in angular notes and there’s even more affirming emotion in the melody as it leaps out. Through it all, the dynamic rhythm dances. As the track ends, the guitar takes a bluesy solo over the pulse of piano chords and the shiny synth behind it.
“Humans Can Dance” begins with crackling static and gentle, slow notes with a bell-like quality that float by. A strongly driving drum throb and bass oscillation move below quickly flaring, minor key synth chords to create a hip-swaying pulsation.
Now the guitar vaults in along with a synth that shines strongly over the angular, sinuous chords and unique, broken note patterns. Glowing synth adds bright accents before there’s a break into a solo synth that has a touching tinge of tragedy in it. The fiercely driven drum beat and solid bass add a strong groove.
Gruff, but glittering synth moves alone before bursting over rapidly oscillating bass. The guitar soars through the music over the grooving, moving drums and bass to arc upwards. Now the dynamism of the beat and massive drums drifts into a solitary kick drum as synths blossom and fade before the track ends.
Waves wash across a beach as rolling bass thrums underneath them to start off "Nation Of Healers.” Gently rising, incredibly soothing synths create deep calm as delicate chimes glimmer and bass throbs. Now a crash of wide-sounding retro drums is joined by a pulsating, bursting synth moving in uplifting lines.
The active drums and heavy bass create a gliding motion as a slightly uneven arpeggio spins while higher, glassy synths flicker out. The guitar carries out in touching sonic tendrils over the rippling synths that float underneath it as the arpeggio revolves in slightly offset motion.
I am drawn to the way in which the guitar solo expresses tenderness and compassion as it soars out over the smoothly rhythmic drumbeat. There’s profoundly caring feelings blossoming from the melody as a tide of synth bounces and the track ends on the splash of waves.
“Crazy Diamonds” comes into being with jazz organ and bright chimes moving above a funky bass line that adds motion to the track. The lead synth’s bell-like quality carries an energizing melody and choral voices sing “oohs” over the groovy drums and bass. A flash of shining synth leaps through and now the guitar cries out over the drums in a warming line.
There’s some rough edges in the guitar as in unfurls which add a satisfying texture to the sound. A jazzy, wandering synth solo twists and skips through over the drum and bass solidity.
The beat oscillates quickly as the guitar flies up above it and slips easily along. This track cruises along in a laidback fashion as it as the guitar’s full voice calls out. The music returns to the “A” section melody and flourishes to an end on a single droning note.
A slight crackling sound and more creamy, deep bass is joined by a galactic, revolving arpeggio and glittering chimes to open “Lost In Eden.” The drum and bass throb pushes the music forward as the slowly spinning arpeggio adds even more direction. The guitar has a restrained, feathery feeling before jazz-inflected, unique sounding synth carries a roaming melody over the guiding beat.
The guitar echoes out again, a gossamer melody slipping from it as the progressive beat keeps the music moving forward. A sparkling wash of chimes flows in the background over the throbbing drums and bass. After a soft cymbal hiss, the arpeggios spin out in easy-going motion and the wandering synth melody is doubled by the guitar’s rising line.
Underneath all the other elements, the rhythm goes on. Now the guitar climbs in a hopeful, dreamy solo which I find compelling. The track returns to the motion of drums and bass, along with bursts of descending, string-like synth before the music closes out on huge bass.
“The End” starts off with the sound of a train horn and sirens along with a stormy rush. Ominous synths flare and flow in interlocking motion over the static crackle below them. The guitar’s emotive sound floats out in a bluesy line.
As the hiss flows on behind it, the guitar carries a lost-feeling melody full of shadows, pain and a hint of warmth. Waves of trembling, flickering synth move behind it and everything fades away. This track adds the ideal emotional tenor to close out the listening experience.
Second Chance is a tremendously enjoyable listening experience for me. It’s one of those synth-based albums that uses the qualities of synth music in a way that enhances the expressive nature of the writing. When one adds the first-rate guitar playing and melodic writing, the end result is deeply satisfying in my view.
© 2022 Karl Magi