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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Heaven's Cafe

Live

Review by Gary Hill

What if a bunch of prog rockers decided to write and perform a Broadway musical? That is essentially what we have here. The music is definitely progressive rock, but the show tune sensibilities are marked all over this material. The rock influences range from Spock's Beard to Styx to Flower Kings all the way to The Who, but the musical sort of structure is ever present. This makes for an unusual and intriguing CD that should be of interest to most fans of prog.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2001 Year Book Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Last Smile Sunshine
Feeling like a progressive rock take on a Broadway show tune, this cut is a solid prog jam and sets the tone for the whole album.
Astralography
This one comes in a bit more straightforward in its rocking style. It feels quite a bit like Styx trying to do a Broadway show tune. The guitar work on this track is particularly strong.
Heaven's Café
With a good rock and roll basis, this one is pretty straightforward, almost generic.
Never Alone
This is another fairly generic composition.
Classical Man
This cut feels a bit like a psychedelically tinged hard edged Spock's Beard. It evolves into a killer spacey jam after a time.
Labyrinth
Starting with bass, the cut begins a gradual building process. It is a rather strange one. It dissolves into near chaos at times, then turns into a very psychedelic progish space rock jam.
Tower of Information
Beginning in a sedate prog mode, based on piano and acoustic guitar, this one begins slowly growing from there. It feels quite a bit like something from Spock's Beard or Flower Kings, but with a stage musical sort of beat to it.
Again
With an almost funky The Who sort of texture, this is a brief cut.
Flowing Home
Another short one, this piece is a pretty rock and roll oriented number.
The Dark
This one is actually a bit of a suite, being composed of several distinct segments. This first part starts off in a Spock's Beard sort of mode, then starts building in a slow process. This section is brief and sans vocals, but it has some strong prog tendencies. The next movement/song in the suite begins a gradual ramping in intensity and carries the cut through with power and style.
Robins' Lullaby
This number is a brief and fairly pretty classically oriented ballad.
 
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