5BridgeS originates from the Netherlands. They have been working together with their current line-up for about three years now. The band name refers to the extensive catalogue of Keith Emerson and the five-piece outfit tries to ‘cross a bridge’, reaching out for the sounds of the seventies, wherein truly crafty musicians were still allowed to sound genuinely, passionately warm and a bit rough on the edges. 5BridgeS uses keyboards including MiniMoog, Hammond organ and Taurus pedals. All lyrics are based on the novel De Handelingen Van Thomas by drummer Rob van der Linden - brother of the late Rick, who is the famous keyboardist for Ekseption and Trace as well as a renowned solo-artist. In my booklet not all lyrics were available by the way, some verses seemed to be missing. Most of the music was composed by keyboardist Luke d'Arceno and guitarist Enzo Gallo. Overall the music is heavily symphonic, but on rare occasions there’s more of a ‘disco’ rhythm pattern reminding me of Enigma. In the first tracks elements of Enigma, IQ, Neuschwanstein and most definitely the old Genesis prevail. As good as the instrumental passages may be, in my humble opinion the vocals are not matching the quality of the music nor the compositions. Roelofsen doesn’t have a very distinctive voice, nor a wide range and sings with a typical Dutch accent. Therefore the final touch to turn this album into a lot more than a mere Genesis-clone is missing. A track like On Calpe's Rock for instance illustrates what I mean: the music sounds very much like Genesis from the seventies, even a little too much as far as I'm concerned. Roelofsen must try really hard to hit the higher notes right. Fortunately there are a lot of interesting duels between Gallo’s guitar and d’Arceno’s synthesizers and organ as well as plenty of bombastic, symphonic instrumental pieces to enjoy, like the synth solo in that same track in the style of Rick Wakeman. In Tricks And Treason you'll hear some traces of Yes next to the Genesis influences. The instrumental Lovernius' Song has a very nice tune in the same style as the rest of the album. In Batavian Revolt, the longest track on the album, again this pleasant mix of Genesis and Yes - both early and mid-seventies - can be heard. Especially Gallo’s guitar technique reminds me of Peter Banks'. An atmosphere like in Yes’ Awaken or And You And I in some parts of Amazons & Haven is followed by a piece in Supper's Ready style by Genesis. The final track is a more popular tune, but the in the end influences of Yes return once more.
In summary The Thomas Tracks is an enjoyable album in the vein of the mid-seventies Genesis with some Yes influences. Fans of those bands should definitely check this album out. In spite of the lack of originality, there's musically much to enjoy and with another vocalist I might have rated this album higher.