The Liberty Project by Edward ReekersRelease date: August 4, 2023
Label: Music Theories Recordings
Edward Reekers has made a name for himself as the lead vocalist for Kayak from 1978 to 1982 after replacing Max Werner who sang on the first five albums before switching to the drums until the band called it a day that same year. Alongside Kayak, Reekers has done backing vocals, radio jingles, and is also a filmmaker. He did voice work for the Dutch work from Harry Potter, to Disney.
With three solo albums in the can along with guest appearances of the Ayreon projects, the question, what will Reekers think of next? His latest album The Liberty Project is an epic story based on a parallel universe if the big bang had happened the second time and what would happen to our home planet with its inhabitants?
From pop, metal, prog, AOR, ‘80s arena rock, it’s all there! Reekers brought along help from Steve Hackett, Damian Wilson, Arjen Lucassen, Praying Mantis’ John Cuijpers, and Vanderberg’s Koen Herfst to name a few, they bring his opera to life. When you hear a song like ‘Good Citizens’ for example, you can tell that Damian is pouring his heart out through this ‘80s powder keg, waiting to happen.
There’s a direct nod to Kansas’ Audio-Visions mixed in with the synths going up and down the stairs with the Orwellian lyrical textures pushing through the brick walls on the chorus that brings to mind, a heavier approach to Hall & Oates’ ‘Private Eyes’ as its blisters throughout the night.
Herfst’s militant march into ‘The Present Day’ sets up the tumultuous story of Thomas & Catherine as corruption starts to boil over with a Queen-like arrangement while the balladry on ‘Liberty’ sees a romance on the brink of collapse with its keyboard strings setting up a second chance in life.
‘Patients, Have Patience’ bears resemblance to Foreigner’s ‘Blue Morning, Blue Day’ with its harder, edgier motif before the sea shanty midsection with an unexpected twist. Cindy Oudshoorn’s portrayal of Catherine, is caught in the middle of this triangle between the love of her life, and the city that’s on the brink of collapse.
She puts herself in the song ‘Two Lifetimes’ by making a difficult decision. Leaving her husband whose gone batshit nutzo, or going out in this piano-orientated R&B vibe to the stratosphere. Meanwhile, Arjen brings in the big guns to lend Reekers a helping hand for ‘The Disease’ to occur. You can feel a sense of the Ayreon universe coming to life in this song as Cuijpers takes the lead by heading towards the battlefield.
The rising temperatures, militant arrangements coming out for blood, and mercy, scorching vibrations with its eerie, angelic vocals near the end. The massive war has just begun and we as listeners get to know, that this is a war that Thomas has created, and it will become his own downfall.
Reekers knows his story structure very well by tipping his hat to George Orwell’s 1984. The Liberty Project itself, is very much like an animated rock opera that we badly needed. Edward is letting the listeners know that he’s running things now, his way or the highway. And it’s a combination that’ll send shivers down your spine.