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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lands End

(d)rainage

Review by Gary Hill

The latest Lands End disc is an intriguing chronicle of a very promising prog band. The first two cuts are songs that were written for the Natural Selection album, but never made it there, for various reasons, while the remaining material is recordings of a live performance. It is truly amazing how much emotion this band can pack into their performances.

Lands End is Mark Lavallee, Jeff McFarland, Francisco Neto and Fred Hunter. If not available in your local Tower Records, all Lands End albums are available in the US from Lands End, 5532 W. 119th Place, Inglewood, CA., USA 90304 for $12.00 each, including shipping.

Track by Track Review
Natural Reflection
An outtake from the Natural Selection sessions, this one starts in an atmospheric mode. It then takes on eastern guitar oriented characteristics for a time. Eventually, the piece becomes quite a wonderful, although brief, prog instrumental that ends somewhat in a Kraftwerkian style.
(D)rain age
Rather Genesisish, this powerful composition is full of emotion. A strong progger, it features moments of time that are Yesish and others that remind one of Pink Floyd. Occasionally, those Floyd textures really do dominate, although the tone is much lighter than that Pink band. Although much of the extended instrumental section that starts the piece is predominately keyboard oriented, there is a fantastic explosion of a guitar solo that happens just before the vocals enter. The vocal oriented section of the piece is slow paced, emotional prog that shows elements of Genesis and Yes. There are also elements of this cut that call to mind Procol Harum`s Whiter Shade of Pale.
Live Material
Breathing Deep
Guitar dominated prog, this piece runs through many varied layers, sections and textures. This very strong number is quite dynamic, always moving in unexpected directions. It contains considerably satisfying performances by all the musicians. Later sections of the cut include a greatly dramatic keyboard oriented build-up that carries the song through to its conclusion.
A Castle Mother Nanny And A Warm Soft Bed
A more sedate piece, this is more of a strong ballad. However, the later segments seem to burst forth through energetic, somewhat Howeish, guitar work and powerful drumming that takes the song, in jam-like fashion, to its end.
Shepherds of the Deep
An extremely brief textural ballad, this one segues into The Revolution....
The Revolution Like Saturn Devours Its Children
Starting with a fast paced prog intro that really packs a lot of punch, this is a very emotional cut. "What kind of dream do you prefer today?, Which death machine do you prefer?, The same old system comes around today."
Muchas Gracias
This is simply a spoken word "muchas gracias" to the crowd.
Love Through The Winter and Blood In The Spring
Early parts of this song seem to blend Marillion, Pink Floyd and Genesis. One of my favorite Lands End songs, this is a catchy prog number that will definitely have you singing along. This track, a sure winner on Natural Selection, seems even stronger here. Being of epic proportions, this piece features a great drum solo, wonderful spacey jam and talking drum.
Ashes
A very emotional progger, this one is quite powerful and much higher energy than the version on An Older Land.
The Last Word
This strong prog rocker features a somewhat funky intro and Peart influenced drumming as a lead-in to a psychedelic Dead-like jam.
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