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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Art Decade

Art Decade

Review by Gary Hill

This is such a great disc. The blend of modern and classic prog sounds with a more pop oriented element is so effective. This is quite symphonic, but it also manages to rock. This is truly artsy music. Yet it’s artsy music that feels very mainstream and pop oriented most of the time. That’s really a remarkable accomplishment.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
No One's Waiting

Rising up gradually, there is an almost ominous heavy sound here. That is, until the vocals enter and symphonic elements along with them. Then it’s more like Radiohead or Muse. After the first vocal section this gets an infusion of energy and makes me think of The Beatles or Klaatu. This is a rather pop-oriented, yet quite proggy number. The layers of sound over the top lend a lushness that’s beautiful and powerful. The whole piece is quite accessible despite having an arrangement that shifts a lot. They drop it back to a more rhythmically based movement later.

Walking Together
On the one hand, this piece is a bit simpler and mellower than the opener. All that said, though, it’s still quite an impressive piece. That’s both in terms of the variations and layers of sounds and how well it works when it hits the ears. This is another modern symphonic progressive rock piece that works quite well. I love some of those symphonic melodies that come over the top. This is great stuff.
Harbor Light
An energetic number, this is more of a rocker than the two openers were. It’s more closely tied to modern alternative rock. Still, it’s got plenty of that modern progressive rock sound, too. This is another especially effective song. It’s perhaps closer to something like Radiohead than either of the first pieces was. The more symphonic section at the end is great.
Idle Talk
The opening section leads one to think the cut is going to be a progressive rock ballad. They turn in one change after another, though and this is a rocking jam that’s got plenty of Beatles-like elements along with Radiohead and alternative rock sounds. It’s one that has a bit steeper learning curve than some of the other music does, but it’s worth the extra work.
So I Thought
Piano opens this and the first verse is delivered with nothing other than that for accompaniment. It builds out from there, though with other layers added. Then a bouncing kind of jam ensues that again makes me think of Klaatu quite a bit. It doesn’t stay there, though. This thing is all over the place. It’s got quite classical moments, more hard rocking ones and more of that Klaatu sound. It even drops for a reprise of the opening section mid-track.
Numberless Dreams

Parts of this have the most minimalist arrangement of the set, with the most hard rocking sound. That said, the later sections are back into the full arrangements and again make me think of Klaatu. It’s another diverse and dynamic piece that’s quite effective.

Need You Yesterday
Piano and voice start this one off. This is another that’s quite an adventure, though. It works through quite a few changes in rapid succession. At times it’s a lot more stripped back. At other times it wanders near shoegaze territory. Then we also get sections more in that pop prog approach. All in all, this is an adventurous and powerful piece of music.
Boredom
Folky acoustic guitar opens this in a playful way and the vocals come over the top. It works out after the first set of vocals to a more full arrangement on the same basic song concept. They keep shifting and changing this arrangement and take it out into a more dreamy symphonic progressive rock section later in the piece.
Greylock Hill
They start this one with a wall of vocals. Then it launches into a lushly arranged section and this makes me think of a combination of Klaatu, The Beatles, Queen and Jellyfish. There is a lot of old timed pop music here. The piece continues growing, but doesn’t stray from the opening concept as it does so. There’s a switch to a guitar based movement later that has a lot of folk and rock in the mix. They build that out later into something closer to the rest of the piece.
All That's Left
Folky rock sounds open this and I love the section with the vocals over the top of that. There’s a playful innocence to it that works well. This gets a lusher arrangement later with a more rocking section. They drop it way down to ambient space at the end of that.
 
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