For many, the video for “Somniloquist” premiered below will be your first encounter with British band Messenger. Formed by Khaled Lowe, Barnaby Maddick and Jaime Gomez Arellano in 2012, Messenger make their full-length debut in March with the release of Illusory Blues, an album of wondrous scope that spans diverse genres ranging from prog rock to blues, by way of neo-folk and psychedelia. However, Messenger refuse to fully commit to the traits or tropes of these genres, instead drift smoke-like through a variety of sounds, with the band’s meticulous songwriting acting as a beacon and an anchor.
Surprisingly for a band delivering their debut, Messenger exist in exceptional air: their absorption of different styles of music to form cohesive and fresh ideas gives the band their own definable sound. Illusory Blues, produced at Orgone Studios by the band’s drummer Jaime Gomez Arellano (Cathedral, Oranssi Pazuzu), is sophisticated yet earthy, and there is a mysterious quality to the music that lulls the listener in and intoxicates from beginning to end.
“Somniloquist” is indicative of what you can expect from Illusory Blues. The song’s pacing is superb; its gentle verses are meditative (Black Sabbath’s “Solitude” is a decent point of reference) and its ambitious chorus brings the song to dramatic heights, especially when the full band kicks in to drop some distortion and a guitar solo that begins with the blues and turns to prog, before the final rush of the chorus sweeps you away. It’s all extremely impressive, and Messenger will undoubtedly turn plenty of heads this year through the boundless nature of their evocative music and the way it’s presented.