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Non-Prog CD Reviews

The Hydrothermal Vents

Secrets of the Deep

Review by Gary Hill

This is an unusual set. It’s very hard to categorize. The most consistent element here are the lines of female and male vocals that often seem to come at one another from odd angles. The music here ranges from hard rock to jam band sounds and modern progressive rock, with various sounds often mixing in the same section. Some of this is more successful than other parts, though. Even the most accessible has a bit of an “odd” quality, but that’s actually one of the charms of this set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Inside a Movie

There is a lot to like about this. The arrangement of lines of male and female vocals seemingly coming at odd angles from one another is one. The catchy hooks despite this rather odd sound is another. This is just a fun piece that works really well despite a left-of-center approach.

Do the Vent
This guitar rocker seems part old-time rock and roll, part Cheap Trick and part B-52s. It’s mostly instrumental, but there are both non-lyrical vocals and the title sung at times. It’s a lot of fun and has some meaty guitar.
Shark!
There is some Ventures styled sound in some of the guitar here. The vocal sections, though, bring this into more of a 1980s pop rock territory. There are some hints of jazz, too. This is gentle, melodic and effective.
Out of Their Cages
This is short and a bit weird. It’s got a lot of energy and some real charm, though.
Hydrothermal Vents
A harder rocking tune, this is another one that makes me think of The B-52s quite a bit in terms of the vocal arrangement. There are aspects of this that land it almost in a modern progressive rock vein. This is a bit odd, but also very cool.
Neptune's Grave
On the one hand, this has some of the most blatantly progressive rock like music of the whole set. Yet, the vocals definitely remind me of The B-52s. Some of the riffs on this number do, too. The combination makes this another odd one, but also a real standout.
Attento
This hard rocker is a bit too weird for my tastes. At times it seems too random (or at least stream of consciousness-oriented). Still, the closing section makes me think of 1970s David Bowie quite a bit.
Hanz (Sleeping with the Starfish)

The guitar that runs along this has more of that stream-of-consciousness vibe. It feels more like a jam with some vocals over the top to me. For that reason, this doesn’t work as well as some of the earlier stuff did.

Fish Out of Land
This is a definite improvement. It’s very much got a soaring kind of modern progressive rock vibe to it. It’s a killer rocker with a lot of style and charm.
 
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