Dutch proggers Chinawhite have been around since 2000, flying the flag for a genre that has enjoyed something of a resurgence in recent years. On Challenges, their latest full length album, they continu to leap with both feet into the mystcal stratosphere of prog. Hammond organ and all.
Second track "Challenges" rather bizarrely jolts from a classic rock pre-verse to frontman Don Feltges displaying his most dulcet of dulcet tones as Chinawhite go all easy listening on us.
The problem with having an album packed full of epic tracks is that each needs to maintain the listener’s attention. "Dreams of a Child" is a prime example of where Chinawhite fail down here, with a seemingly abundant opening section that is more akin to the band having a quick pre-song warm up rather than being a real part of the track. Once they do get into their stride, the boys pull some good stuff out of the bag. "My Venus Rising" is a slice of classic rock gold wrapped in prog clothing, while "Stranger" has a slight Journey vibe while maintaining the Dutch rocker’s distinctive own sound.
"Inside" meanwhile, sees the boys step into boogie territory, while the mark of Rush and Deep Purple become increasingly evident as the album goes on. Which is, of course, no bad thing at all.
Richard Chamberlain, 6 Powerpoints.