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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Murray Hockridge and Dave Kilminster

Closer to Earth

Review by Gary Hill

What an amazing set this is. It’s a collection of covers all delivered in an organic, soulful approach. It’s set somewhere in the space between folk prog and fusion. It’s all strong. There are some songs here I like more than others, but there’s nothing weak on the disc. The soulful vocals really steal the show, but the musical arrangements are great, too. This is definitely a winner.

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
Losing My Religion

Starting acapella, I like this stripped down approach. It’s over thirty seconds before any instrumentation joins. Even then, it comes in atmospheric and gradually builds upward. It has a bit of an organic space rock vibe for a while. Then, the acoustic guitar starts picking out the melody and it gets a great folk prog sound brought to the mix. There is some great acoustic guitar soloing later in the piece. This is a smoking hot number that works really well. They take this extended jam into almost jazz-like territory.

Rocket Man
Space tones start this appropriately. Then some cool guitar, feeling a lot like early Pink Floyd, emerges. The vocals come in over this slow moving, rather organic arrangement. I really love the soulful vocals on this thing.
Father Figure
I really dig the acoustic guitar driven arrangement on this. It’s a cool tune with a great soulful groove and some tasty vocal work.
I'm Not in Love
As much as the electronic atmosphere of the original was such a big part of it, it’s amazing how well this one works in the first section where’s it’s stripped bare to an acoustic guitar based rendition. I suppose that’s a tribute to the strength of the song-writing. There are some other elements added later and this is one of my favorite cuts on the whole disc. I really love some of the vocal stylings near the end of this.
Street Spirit
Apparently this was originally a Radiohead song. I don’t think I’ve ever heard it. I absolutely love the beautiful and intricate melodies here. This feels gentle and vulnerable. It’s a very pretty song that works really well. It’s one of my favorites here, despite the fact that it’s a bit on the understated side.
Brown Eyed Girl
I like this rendition of this classic tune quite a bit. It’s just not as awesome as the songs we’ve heard to this point. That’s more because of strength of those than any weakness in this one, though. The energized jam later in the track is a nice touch, but it seems to go on a bit too long for my tastes.
Any Major Dude Will Tell You

I’m a huge Steely Dan fan. I really love what this re-arrangement does for the track. It seems to make the soulful groove work even better to me somehow.

Hallelujah

Their take on the Leonard Cohen classic is quite cool. I love the pretty melodies and intricate stylings. This is gentle and powerful and majestic all at the same time.

Sara Smile

This Hall and Oates classic gets a soulful interpretation here. It works quite well.

Time After Time
Chiming harmonics start this off and they deliver a cool rendition of this tune. It’s got an unexpected depth and passion.
Wish You Were Here
I love this Pink Floyd song as interpreted by these two guys. It’s definitely different, but quite cool.
 
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