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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Mobtown Moon

Mobtown Moon

Review by Gary Hill

Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album is one of the most iconic discs in history. That makes creating a cover version of the album a daunting task. Well, Mobtown Moon was clearly up to the task. They’ve not tried to replicate that set in any way. Instead, they’ve created their own sound within the confines of familiar music. Of course, they actually stretch farther than that, creating some original pieces that are designed to fit, and they do. This is not the kind of thing for people who feel it’s wrong to change music when covering it. I definitely fall into the “if you can’t make it your own, don’t bother” group and for me, this is great. Some of the songs stand at least as tall as the original.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The City Speaks

Just under a minute in length, this is basically just a voice trying to get an animal to “speak” over the top of a lot of found sounds serving as a rather creepy backdrop.

Breathe (chant version)
This one is just over a minute and ten seconds in length. The found sound type of backdrop heard on the opener is present here. The vocals are essentially like layers of Gregorian chant laying down the familiar lyrics.
Breathe
The lead vocals here are female ones, and they are quite strong. The arrangement has some of the original Pink Floyd elements (for instance, a cool guitar presence) but in a lot of ways this has more of a jazz band element. It also includes some world music. The effect is quite an intriguing twist on the familiar sounds.
On the Run
Now, this is a rather unusual reworking of the Pink Floyd concept. It’s got more of those found sounds and electronic music combined with a banjo, creating almost a bluegrass meets electronica vibe. It’s pretty odd, but also compelling.
Time
I suppose it’s an obvious choice, but this is one of my favorite cuts from the original Pink Floyd album. I love the bit of a groove these guys bring with their rendition. It is recognizable as what it is, but the arrangement is more organic and a bit more stripped back. It’s no less cool. The only thing that loses me is that at the end there are some extremely deep, almost operatic vocals. Somehow those seem a little cheesy to me. Still, this cut is good enough that it only matters so much.
The Great Gig in the Sky
On the other hand, while I’ve always liked this song musically, the vocals have left me a little dry. Here they put a full on symphonic section at the start of the piece. From there it works out to an arrangement that’s arguably closer to the original than anything else here. The vocals are similar to those on the original, but seem to work better for me. They drop it to an ambient section later with bursts of sound and vocals. Then it works back out to the main song from there. There is a bit of a symphonic section at the end, too.
Money
The familiar bass line opens this, but it’s played on an acoustic bass, rather than the familiar bass guitar. That seems to be the pattern here as this is more of a traditional jazz arrangement on the classic song. It works really well in this particular format and this is one of the better cuts of the disc.
Dream-Counterfeit
What a cool thing this is. It’s got a real jazz rock vibe to the music. However, the vocals are strictly hip hop. The result is an intriguing blend and a great way to expand the range of the set.
Us and Them
Another of my favorite cuts here, this is a second song to be led by female vocals. The first part of the arrangement is mostly just piano and voice. The cut gets more of a jazz meets classical vibe added as it continues. I really love how this arrangement changes the impact and tone of the piece. It’s an awesome rendition.
Any Colour You Like
This instrumental is a full on jazz treatment, and I’m talking old time jazz. It’s also very cool.
Brain Damage
The more stripped down jazz approach to the music here works really well. I’m not overly crazy about the soulful vocals that dominate it, though. That said, the female vocals and some of the less theatrical ones are good. This is a good tune, but not great.
Eclipse
The main focus on this piece is multiple layers of vocals. The music that underscores it is essentially more of the jazz arrangement type sound. Those vocals though at times include a children’s choir, male vocals and female vocals. The whole concept works really well and makes this a great closer.
 
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