It is finally here. The day that I have been anticipating for well over a year, Above & Beyond's 4th studio album “Common Ground” has been officially released on the trio's own Anjunabeats label.
There are very few artists that can invoke the sheer excitement and joy that Above & Beyond brings to me and many other of their die-hard fans. Listening to this album all the way through gave me goosebumps for nearly a full hour, taking me on a musical journey that hit every feel in the book. With 8 brand new tracks and 5 previously released singles, this is 13 tracks of magic, peppered with the powerful vocals of Above & Beyond favorites Richard Bedford, Justine Suissa, Zoe Johnston, & newcomer Marty Longstaff.
The album begins with “The Inconsistency Principle” a cinematic liftoff to the album that inspires you to sit back, relax and get ready to enjoy the ride. Things then begin to pick up the pace with their 2 recent singles “My Own Hymn” ft. Zoe Johnston and “Northern Soul” ft. Richard Bedford, 2 huge #ABGT250 crowd risers. Oceanlab & some would say 4th Above & Beyond member Justine Suissa, comes in on the next track “Naked” the 1st new vocal track on the album. A heavy bassline and powerful groove shine through the entire track, lending to a progressive drop that will be rocking arenas throughout the “Common Ground” tour. (Every ticket sold on the North American Tour (USA dates only) comes with a copy of Common Ground.)
The 5th track on the album, “Sahara Love” brings back the sun-soaked vocals of Zoe Johnston, as she shines through this entire track. “Sahara Love” has a very uplifting melody that hangs throughout the entire song. The unmistakable Richard Bedford is back on the vocals for “Happiness Amplified”, a track that in my mind defines Above & Beyond beautifully – powerful, uplifting lyrics with a masterful vocal leadup up into synth-heavy progressive trance drops. This is a perfect halfway point to the album.
We are officially on the 2nd half of the album now as we get into the progressive heater “1001 (Is It Love)”. This track has a little bit of history to it as it was dropped initially in early 2017 as an instrumental single, but has since had vocals added to perfectly complement the track, not overwhelm it. The slow-burning “Cold Feet” is another poignant moment from Justine Suissa that lends itself beautifully into “Tightrope” feat. Marty Longstaff, a beautifully messaged track that tackles the uncertainties of life. “Alright Now” is the next track voiced again by Justine Suissa, it was released in 2017 before the announcement of the album and saw great success throughout the year with the club mix getting played in tons of sets and radio shows.
Coming down the backstretch of the album, we now hit my personal favorite tune on the album, “Bittersweet & Blue” ft. Richard Bedford. Richard Bedford's vocals as usual absolutely shine throughout the track as a steady bassline thumps throughout. “This is your life, dreams can come true, like your memories of me, they'll be Bittersweet & Blue” is a powerful hook that I can see being sung by an entire arena in unison. Stripping things back to the band’s acoustic core, the stunning “Always” is an optimistic Zoë Johnston-led ballad released last Friday with a breathtaking music video. The title track, ‘Common Ground,’ premiered at Ultra Miami 2017, is a final, thought-provoking instrumental bookend to the journey.
Above & Beyond's “Common Ground” was an absolute masterpiece. Tony McGuinness, Paavo Siljamaki, and Jono Grant aren't just “producers” and they don't make “EDM”, they are Above & Beyond and they make music, and some of the best in the world. Cheers, and I can't wait to experience this live on the “Common Ground” tour. Check out the full list of tour dates below and get your tickets now at aboveandbeyond.nu/commonground
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