The Conduit of Humanity project released a promising debut album The Zen Cage late last year. An album featuring many musicians and collaborations, it made an impact on me. To this day, it warrants repeated listens. Fred Jeske & his collaborators were inspired by the timeline songs of Todd Rundgren as filtered through a Sloan inspired alternative rock sound. I found it to be one of the best debut albums of 2019. Rather than resting on their laurels, the band is back with their 2nd album. Fortunately, this is no sophomore slump. Rather, this is an album that deepens the sounds of the 1st album while exploring new horizons. It’s a different animal, really – there are even shades The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway era Genesis here. Equality might even be better than the debut.
The album opens with Laughable Delusion – a song seeped in progressive sounds. Vocals are filtered through sound f/x, a sci-fi ambience permeating the tune. Lyrically, this is deep stuff. “Wistful for the rapture, remembering too late it takes an apocalypse / And how does it feel?”. Crown Shyness has a subdued, sad vibe that is alluring. Female vocals give it a different vibe from the tracks preceding. The song is heavy on atmosphere, a smoky room in an episode of Twin Peaks. You’re My Clone has a feel that reminds me of The Cars during their prime era. It’s a more straightforward rocker, but that is a strength. Memorable riffs, memorable vocals. The opening verse kind of sets the scene for the metaphysical connection “I feel we’ve been down this road / As we kneel with our souls on the floor And with this new horizon, eyes ablaze / We’ll begin to unravel this twisted maze”. Loneliness closes out the album and it is a heck of a closer. A mournful ballad that is also uplifting, it resonates emotionally. It also might be my favorite song on the record. Instrumental backing is sparse yet effective – it builds as the song progresses. Lyrically, it leans more towards the hopeful side. “I want you to know loneliness is only an illusion / It’s no stronger than me”. The song cuts out after only 2 minutes or so, but the impression remains long after the music has ended. Fantastic.
You can pick up the album here and follow the band on The Social Network. I’d highly recommend this album – it isn’t often that you have so many musicians collaborating from different locales to create a cohesive statement. In 2020, it makes sense to gravitate towards works of art that inspire. With Equality, Conduit of Humanity have given us something to hold on to.
Verdict: Anthem for 2020
For Fans of: Lusk, Sloan, Genesis, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Todd Rundgren
- Laughable Delusion
- On the Scrap Heap
- Mish’lin Man
- Ligezite to en-way Libes Waltz
- Crown Shyness
- Snap and Turn
- Here We Go Again
- You’re My Clone
- Water’s Fine