K2’s newest release good but not completely enthralling

K2
Black Garden
Magna Carta Records (MA-9107-2)
Grade:
***

By Michael Popke

Magna Carta hails its latest release as “an instant prog classic.” While that’s an embellishment, K2’s Black Garden does contain many classic prog elements – including a vocalist that sounds like Peter Gabriel, keyboard flourishes that echo Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson (courtesy of Spock’s Beard’s Ryo Okumoto), and guitar solos that evoke vintage prog’s glory years.

Arriving five years after K2’s debut, “Book of the Dead,” Black Garden describes the epic oceanic voyage of the ancient Polynesians en route to settling the South Pacific Islands, and rich musical passages reflect the majesty of that journey. While not completely enthralling, the album will no doubt satisfy listeners’ progressive urges (and it’s nice to see Magna Carta release a pure prog record again).

Disappointingly, “Black Garden comes in a digipak,” with no booklet. Considering the intricacies of this musical narrative, a lyric sheet — or at least a URL to an online set of lyrics — would have been welcome.


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