Cosmic Gate - Sign Of The Times
We've been here before: the trouble with trance. The trouble with trance is it's a bit like porridge. No matter who's serving it up, whether that be Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, it's always going to taste rather similar. Ingredients are limited. There doesn't seem to be much room (or is it care?) for innovation.
Cosmic Gate are German rather than Dutch, which is possibly the single most surprising thing in relation to Sign of the Times. Still, this isn't a bad (fourth) album. Perhaps my expectations were relaxed since it doesn't come with the same 'Best DJ in the World' thunder that accompanies a Tiesto or Ferry Corsten release, although often you might be hard pushed to tell it apart from such an artefact.
The tracks with female vocals are the most successful. Open Your Heart is probably the best song here, pushing all the right euphoric buttons, and Not Enough Time isn't far behind. The instrumental tracks, such as Artic Sunset and Whatever, mainly deliver, possessing a welcome hard edge with beats and driving rhythm as important as melody. The tracks with male vocals mostly just leave you wondering why blokes on trance records always sound a bit rubbish.
Sign of the Times is ultimately more than competent, indeed possibly as good as anything the genre's heavyweights have to offer. Just don't expect a journey into unchartered territory.