REVIEW: eMolecule – The Architect


Former SOUND OF CONTACT members Simon Collins and Kelly Nordstrom are releasing their debut offering as a progressive-rock duo, a full-length entitled “The Architect,” on February 10th, 2023, via InsideOut Music. Wait, what? I like to consider myself a prog aficionado, but I’ve never heard of the band, let alone these two prog ruffians, now operating under the banner of EMOLECULE. It seems that the undisputed superpower of progressive rock, the British Isles, boasts such a surplus of class-A proggers that they can birth new killer acts like nothing to it. The thing is: these two molecular scientists do not waste time on making a lasting impression with their craft. One minute, they roll out riffs that bring the rock back to prog and, the next you know, you’ll be marinated in haunting, atmospheric synths and vocals that resonate with the air of this one famous four-piece from Liverpool. I guess OASIS might have sounded something like this had they grown up on a steady diet of PINK FLOYD and RUSH instead of THE BEATLES. Then again, regardless of the subtle nuances that suggest this duo would come from the UK, the vocals do resonate more with the air of Phil Collins-era GENESIS than with the arrogant bravado of Liam Gallagher. There is rarely anything that’s absolute, but when it comes to modern prog, the British are really onto some ancient dark magic that makes their progressive endeavors soar to new heights, time and again.

The title track does the honors of opening this sonic journey and it does so by rolling out a serpentine guitar riff that balances between straight-up stoner rock and early KING CRIMSON. If that doesn’t baffle you enough, in the refrains, they gear up on the 1990s-tinted Brit-pop vibes and before the last refrain, the song takes off on a wild tangent, floating in an ambient ocean of sound for a couple of minutes, with a cinematic voiceover going on about some dystopian sci-fi stuff in the background. I’m pretty sure that, should you ever propose a song like this to a major label kingpin, the answer would be a categorical no – “Stoner riffs, Brit-pop, and some ambient soundscapes all squeezed into one song? No, we don’t do that sort of thing here, ever.” Aren’t I glad that prog labels such as InsideOut are a different breed! These gents wear their hearts on their sleeves, so you kind of know you’re going to love this album by the time the album opener is over and done with, given that this sort of anarchy in the UK is your cup of tea, of course – pun intended!

So, after the opener, I was mentally prepared for almost anything – except for the “Phil Collins singing a proggy ballad circa 1987” -vibe of “Awaken.” What’s even more baffling is the fact that these proggy pranksters make it sound good! If I were to lay bets, I think I would be well advised to wager my money on the possibility that they put something weird in the tap water where these fellows come from. While holding this thought, I had to check where these two prog wizards really come from and, well, this is where things got really interesting…

EMOLECULE‘s website tells me that this up-and-coming powerhouse of progressive rock is not entirely British, after all. This dynamic duo met in British Columbia, Canada. I’ll be damned! I was totally tricked by the somewhat British tinge in their signature prog sound. I could have sworn… Obviously, the subtle RUSH vibes must come from there, as well as the delicious Devin Townsend flashbacks on the track, “Emolecule.” Maybe it was the strong Brit-pop vibe in the opening track that tricked me into believing I was listening to a band from the UK. Later, I was gently advised to connect the dots: the vocal duties are taken care of Mr. Collins, whose surname should have tipped me off right off the bat. Yes, indeed, he does sound an awful lot like his father, Phil Collins. So, blending a thick British prog vibe with subtle Canadian influences, this dynamic duo has certainly found its own unique niche in the ever-expansive world of progressive rock.

The rest of the album tiptoes the fine line between heavy, almost stoner-like riffs and atmospheric, synth-dominated plateaus of ambient melancholy. On occasion, the vocals resonate with distinct GHOST vibes, and the next minute, sound so much like Phil Collins that you might have to make sure you are not, in fact, listening to the poppier side of GENESIS. There are no weak moments in this selection. As if the first half of the album has not been impressive enough, “Prison Planet” highlights the last few legs of the album’s robust 70 minutes by resonating with the distinct British (oh, yes) prog sound of bands such as FROST*, LONELY ROBOT, KINO, and ARENA. Then, in “Turn” we hear these guys at their most cinematic, with the song slowly building momentum like a postrock piece on steroids. Dudes, it should have been the album closer! While the actual closing track is a nice little exercise in the Middle Eastern -flavored pop-prog, the additive minimalism of the previous song packs way more punch. It’s the only minor flaw on the whole album, so I think we can live with it.

After a few spins, I feel compelled to state that these two gents provide us with a fine selection of class-A Brit-prog. EMOLECULE‘s debut endeavor sounds maybe even more British in its eccentric, yet somewhat pop-oriented approach than most of the prog efforts that I’ve heard coming from the UK of late – despite the fact that, as far as I understand, only half of the duo comes from the Isles. In theory, mixing versatile musical molecules such as stoner riffs and atmospheric prog together is a recipe for burgerturosis, but these mad scientists show you how it’d done with style. I’ll be damned if this effort doesn’t win all prog-inclined hearts with its outgoing sweetness!

Written by Jani Lehtinen


  1. The Architect
  2. Awaken
  3. Beyond Belief
  4. Dosed
  5. eMolecule
  6. Mastermind
  7. Moment of Truth
  8. My You
  9. Prison Planet
  10. The Turn
  11. The Universal


Simon Collins

Kelly Nordstrom


InsideOut Music