Alice and the Wonderland is the debut offering from the exquisite band In Search Of. The band is led by the amazing father-daughter duo Michael Raitzin and Michelle Ray. The album blends multiple Rock styles with musical theater and some pop elements to keep the listeners hooked throughout its thirteen tracks, which tell a fantastic rendition of the age-old story in a fresh new way.
The opening track is simply titled “Intro” and it sets the standards for some of the classical/musical theater elements we should expect from the album with its fantastic strings arrangement, ambient sounds, and the conversation between the titular character and her father. After that, we are presented with Engagement Party, a heavy track with an onslaught of distorted guitar riffs and complex drum lines. I wasn’t expecting neither this level of heaviness nor the metal influence to be there but they were the most pleasant surprise and I’m glad the band decided to make the album this way. The first song is handled mostly by the brightly toned and chesty female vocals, in contrast to the second track, Ambush, which shows an unconventional way of the Beauty and The Beast aesthetic. The father’s vocals are mostly in the mixed register and show a lot of distortion which contradicts yet matches beautifully with the soft airy female vocals…making Ambush one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Alice was previously released as a single and it has acoustic guitars, folky additional instruments, and expressive vocals. The recurring line “everything has a moral if you please” will remain stuck in your head for days. The guitar solo was more than perfect as well. Tea Party succeeds in painting the mental picture of the sense of delirious danger in Alice’s dream. Its drumline and rhythm will get you headbanging violently along to them. By this point in most albums, we would have reached a creative dead end where bands opt for putting filler tracks or interludes, but this is not the case here at all. Jabberwocky is performed solely by the male vocals in all their distorted power and galore…making this feel like a power metal track. The thunderous drums and powerful bass lines have further increased this feeling for me. The track’s guitar solo is one of the best and most complex on the entire album. The Red Queen is the track that’s most pivotal to the events of the story and the trial held by the Queen against Alice was wonderful and well-written. This song’s lyrics will make you visualize the events of the story as part of a Broadway musical or a musical movie…it’s amazingly captivating.
Vorpal Sword lets us see a different braver side of Alice, as well as a more electronic side of the music. The female vocals are amazingly stunning here and I was amazed to hear the higher part of the chest register with resonant and powerful notes ringing with every verse. The biggest surprise here was the clean/classical guitar solo. The keyboard/synth sounds that played throughout the song were another remarkable element that stuck with me. Revolt is yet another epic track here. The church organs along with the strings gave it a majestic feeling, and the vocals were mixed beautifully. The instrumental section in the middle of the song had some of the most complex riffing I have ever heard. Embattled mixes the clean guitars with the electric ones, making the melodies catchier and the emotions way more authentic. Alice is crying for help and wishing to pinch herself to end this dream…and you can’t help but feel for her due to the beautiful execution of the vocals and instrumentals and the wonderful chemistry between them.
Frabjous Day is the second track to be entirely led by the male vocals…I really loved the heaviness and the raw energy during the verses, while the chorus put a lot of vocal layers over each other for more emphasis and power in the words. The guitar solo will remind you a lot of Slash. Flutterwacken Dance is an instrumental number that has a large role played by the keyboards and synths. It’s really mind-blowing how these guys managed to bridge the gaps between power pop, rock, and metal with such songwriting. The closing track is titled “Farwell” and I really don’t know whether or not this typo was intentional…but what caught my attention the most was how the album comes full-circle thanks to the track having recurring melodies from the first track and I thought this was such a brilliant move.
In conclusion, this is a story-telling masterpiece of a concept album. The more listens you give it, the more it’ll grow on you and the more beautiful details you will discover. It’s worth every second of your time and I’ll vouch for these guys and recommend them to all my friends from now on.