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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Unicorn

Blue Pine Trees

Review by Gary Hill

Much like the other Unicorn reissue reviewed this time around, I nearly put this one in the “non-prog” category. I could still see it fitting there, but the prog rock element in a good portion of the disc (combined with the appearance of David Gilmour) convinced me that it fits in progressive rock. Overall this is a great CD that combines country, soft rock, ‘70’s pop rock and progressive sounds into something that’s varied and always listenable.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Electric Night

I can hear a lot of things like America built into this. There is plenty of George Harrison and even some Eric Clapton here, too. It's essentially more of a folk rocker at the start, moving to more full on rock from there.

Sleep Song
In many ways this feels like taking something from Poco and turning it towards pure progressive rock in terms of the complex arrangement and then throwing a little Pink Floyd into the mix. It’s another killer cut.
Autumn Wine
Mix mellow Beatles with psychedelic Pink Floyd and you’ll have a good idea of what this track sounds like. It’s even stronger than the two that started us out. There’s a cool textural section that serves as the outro. 
Rat Race
A fast paced number, there’s a lot of funk and plenty of prog rock in the mix here. There’s an awesome instrumental section to this that has some great keyboard work. The closing instrumental segment has some tasty acoustic guitar soloing. 
Just Wanna Hold You
I don’t think I’d consider this one prog, but there is a cool echoey guitar solo section. This one qualifies more as the kind of mellow countrified jam band sound that the Grateful Dead used to do. 
Holland
The main song here is a rocking little number that reminds me of the more rock oriented stuff we used to get from Bread and America, There’s a more progressive rock styled instrumental section mid-track, though. 
Nightingale Crescent
Another with definite Beatles influences, I love how the bass just sort of wanders all around the background of this piece. It’s another tasty tune. 
Farmer
This is much in the same vein as “Just Wanna Hold You.” It’s a good tune with a lot of country/bluegrass at its core. David Gilmour provides pedal steel guitar here. 
In the Gym
A more complicated number, this one falls more into the progressive rock realm and reminds me a bit of something from Alan Parsons. There’s some killer jazz jamming later in the piece. 
Blue Pine Trees
The title track is another energized rocker that’s still very melodic and organic. It’s not as progressive rock styled as the previous one, but I could still argue that it fits into that category.
Ooh Mother
There’s a lot more of a country texture to this piece. It’s pretty and intricate. The track grows a lot and becomes a bit Beatles-like. Many layers are added to the mix as they continue here.
Take It Easy (Bonus Track)
As the parenthetical indicates, this is a bonus track. It’s probably got equal parts country music, Eagles styled soft rock and progressive rock.
 
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