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Spock's Beard

Feel Euphoria

Review by Steve Alspach

Well, it isn't the Spock's Beard that we've all grown accustomed to. With Neal Morse's departure, the band bares little semblance to it's old self, but that's not to say that the band hasn't lost its edge. The remaining four musicians have stepped up to the challenge and have produced quite a good album. Give "Feel Euphoria" a fair shake, and you'll find an album that rocks harder than any SB album and stands up well in the band's catalogue.

Track by Track Review
Onomatopoeia
The band comes out at full throttle on this one. The bridge than comes in, barely restrained, but it holds long enough until the band kicks in again. This may well be the hardest rocking song in the SB catalogue.
The Bottom Line
This shows that the band hasn't lots its sense of flair. The song starts off with crunching guitar but then shifts into a number of different moods that stand in contrast to the intro. This song contains excellent harmonies reminiscent of Porcupine Tree.
Feel Euphoria
 Dave Meros and Nick D'Virgilio add punch to one off the slow burner. The band shows signs of breaking into high-energy mode, and finally cut loose towards the end. Alan Morse gets off a scorching solo at the end.
Shining Star
 Here the Beard take a D'Virgilio composition and give it a relaxed, no-frills arrangement.
East of Eden, West of Memphis
This sounds a bit like Revolver-era Beatles song with the verses and the reverse-track ending. The middle, though, is pure Beard, with its rapid-fire solos from Ryo Okumoto and Alan Morse. That mid-section sounds quite a bit like the Spock's Beard of old.
Ghosts of Autumn
Dave Meros' composition has more of a flair for the dramatic than the others on this album. The lengthy instrumental section has some beautiful piano work in it, and the second part shows Alan Morse playing a simple melodic solo over the verse.

A Guy Named Sid
Well, it can't be a Spock's Beard album without a multi-song suite. D'Virgilio wrote this saga about a man who goes through life with not a whole lot of luck, who had it all and lost it.
Part I - Intro
The band kicks into a tight groove in this three-minute intro.
Part II - Same Old Story
This part explains Sid's dilemma. The song is a jolt of adrenaline, and Ryo Okumoto's solo, more restrained than usual, fits in perfectly.
Part III - You Don't Know
Sid's side of the story, this segment starts off with a quieter mode with Ryo Okumoto playing electric fills and Alan Morse on volume-pedal guitar.
Part IV
The thematic recap of the story at this point. The crunch metal mode comes back in with this section, but then the band slows down, but in a big flourishing style, as though it was the end of the entire piece.
Part V - Sid's Boy's Choir
This is a short acapella piece.
Part VI - Change
 In this end section there are moments when Meros and D'Virgilio lock in so well it's ridiculous. The verse and chorus forms from Part II are revisited, and then the band kicks out with a grand finale that, dare we say it, sounds much like something that the departed whisker in the Beard, Neal Morse, could have penned.
Carry On
Another true-to-the-heart composition, this time from Alan Morse, the band uses a brass section (Claire Pasquale and Gina Ballina) and strings (Steve Velez and J'Anna Jacoby) for effect, and the bells at the end make for an emphatic finish.
There are two bonus tracks on the Special Edition CD. These two tracks are polar opposites - one in a straight verse-chorus form, the other rather exp
Moth of Many Flames
This is a straight-ahead acoustic rocker with just vocals and acoustic guitars.

From the Messenger
After a strange electronic opening, this piece drifts into ambience similar to that of Cluster and Eno. This piece is mainly keyboards - mellotron, Fender Rhodes, voice mellotron. It shows that Ryo Okumoto is more than just fast, flash, and fury.

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