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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Roye Albrighton

The Follies of Rupert Treacle

Review by Gary Hill

This solo release from Nektar guitarist/vocalist Roye Albrighton is definitely that, a solo release. Do not expect a Nektar album here. Instead, count on a rather relaxing release that combines jazzy textures with sounds similar to groups like Pink Floyd. This one is nearly all instrumental, Albrighton gracing only a handful of the numbers with vocals. Reading the artist's goals in making the disc, though, the afforementioned should be obvious. It seems that the album was considered by Albrighton to be a bit of an experiment to show just what was possible with the synth guitar. He felt that the songwriting here was to take the back seat to the demonstration of an instrument with which he was smitten. The truth is, he has created quite a listenable disc in the process. The track by track reviews here will reflect the effect each song has on the listener without taking this knowledge into account, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2003 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Sandman
Musically this one is very pop-oriented, but the vocal line adds a more serious tone. Overall, this piece is a bit too cheesy and trite for this reviewer, but it does have its moments, one of them coming in the form of a tasty guitar solo.
The Follies
Starting out jazzy, this one is an improvement from the get-go. As the guitar enters, in an excellent fusion-oriented texture, it is evident that this is going to be an interesting cut. This instrumental, quite a stellar jam, even gets a bit Pink Floydish at times.
Rupert's Moon
Feeling a bit like Billy Joel in the opening piano, as the other instruments join in it takes on an almost Genesisish air for a time. Then as the verse segment takes the composition, a new jazzy element enters. Although not as strong as the previous track, due in part to a leaning towards redundancy, this is potent nonetheless.
Pass the Fuzz
This one starts with an Asian sort of texture. It quickly shifts to a Pat Methenyish mellow jazz styling, and then changes again to more hard-edged fusion. The instrumental drops back down toward the more sedate, then begins wandering in a sedate jazzy jam. It evolves into a smoking guitar solo, another point of the disc that feels a bit Floydish.
You're Not Alone
Another sedate, jazzy composition, this one has vocals, the first non-instrumental since the album opener. It is a classy, balladic song that comes across as a mix of Fish and a jazzier Nektar ballad - almost adult contemporary in nature. It has quite a tasty guitar solo.
Treacle Star
More sedate fusion jamming, this one is smooth, and another that leans a bit towards Pink Floyd. It drops to a more evocative segment for a short time before shifting into a rather weird, spacey mode that serves as the outro.
Dream
This one comes in more mainstream and a bit bouncy. It's good clean fun, not revolutionary, but quite enjoyable in a rather Spyro Gyraish way. It carries on by just building on the same themes, getting quite intense at times.
Rupert's Lament
More mellow fusion, this one is another that doesn't wander far from its roots, but does manage to pack some power into its jamming.
Gabrielle's Bridge
Sound snippets begin this one in atmospheric ways. It takes on a light tone with a jungle texture that feels a bit like some of Jon Anderson's solo works. It switches gear late for a more energetic jam, then drops back to the earlier segment. A more intense movement later picks up the pace again.
The Stranger
Atmospheric keyboard textures serves as the intro, but the song quickly shifts to a jazzy groove. This one is another that stays close to its roots, but works well, the jamming getting quite intense at times.
 
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