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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Hands

Caviar Bobsled

Review by Gary Hill

This is a unique and special album. I love the blend of sounds here. We get plenty of progressive rock, but with psychedelia, folk and more in the mix. This always manages to entertain and surprise. It’s a safe bet you’ve never heard another act that sounds quite like this one. Yet, there is something familiar at the same time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Last Song

First, bonus points have to be awarded for starting an album with a piece titled "The Last Song." The combination of progressive rock and pyschedelia on this is quite effective. There are some potent bits of music. It has some cool changes. Yet, it also has a very familiar kind of psychedelic pop rock at play. Around the two minute mark it drop back to a mellow movement. From there it powers out into a smoking hot prog jam that has a lot of retro jazz in the mix. The cut continues shifting and changing as this instrumental movement works forward. A mellow folk prog movement emerges after the extended instrumental section. The opening section returns to end this.

Heavy Lifting

For some reason, the opening movement here makes me think of a folk prog version of Yes’ “Roundabout” quite a bit. The piece works through some variants and reworkings as it continues. Eventually we’re taken out into another psychedelic rock turned prog section for the vocals. Hints of The Beatles and 70s rock are heard here and there. As it continues to evolve there is a section that feels a lot like Queen to me. More changes ensue beyond that. We’re taken into a fast pieced jam later that’s a little jazzy.

Discourse on Method

In some ways this is more of a straight line cut than the previous number was. It definitely combines the psychedelic and progressive rock elements. It does have some changes and varying sections, but still remains more consistent than some of the other music here. There are moments that make me think a little of Yes.

Drum Roe

This instrumental is just over a minute long. It’s basically trippy atmospherics over the top of frenzied drumming.

Halfway to Salem

This comes in like acoustic guitar driven, fast paced King Crimson music to me. It works out from there in some different directions. Folk music makes its way into the mix along with some Americana and perhaps even a little country music. At times this is very much a folk song. At other points it works out toward crazed chamber music. Things that feel like King Crimson return. It has a lot of Rock in Opposition in the mix. It’s pretty crazed at times. It’s also rather weird. Yet, it’s quite a cool piece of music, if a bit unsettling at times. I really love the bass work on the closing section of this piece.

Still Life

The opening segment here has a lot of classical instrumentation. It’s energized, but very classical. From there they take it to a jam that’s more psychedelic rock turned prog. The piece continues to evolve from there with some unusual angles and corners emerging. I love the guitar soloing on this thing. There are some really hard edged guitar parts at times, too.

Talking Points

There is a lot of folk music built into this number for sure. It incorporates classical music and more traditional progressive rock as it builds outward later.

Like Me

This comes in with more of that psychedelic prog. There are some sections later that remind me of Jethro Tull, but the hard rocking side of that band. They take it out into some cool fusion meets prog jamming later, too. Some sections further down the road remind me of both Yes and Pink Floyd. This drops to trippy space at the end.

Into the Night

An instrumental, this is created strictly with symphonic instruments. Yet, it rocks. There are hints of world music and more on this cool jam.

Shards

Alternative rock and 1960s pop rock are merged as this starts. I love the vocal harmonies on this piece. There are classical instruments in this, and the composition works through some cool changes..

Alis Volat Propiis
I love this jam. It might be my favorite piece on the disc. It has a great groove. It seems to combine King Crimson with fusion and more. I love some of the melodic jamming that comes over the top of this thing. This instrumental is classy.
This and That
Jazz, psychedelia, folk and prog merge here. There are things that make me think of King Crimson. There are other things that call to mind Jethro Tull. Still other points sound like old school Chicago to me. Yet, it’s all packaged in a great arrangement that’s distinct to this act.
Busy Signal
There are some weird moments, but it’s a good weird. We get some space, psychedelia and much more on this killer piece. I suppose folk prog and classical music are almost equally represented, too. There is a hard rocking jam that’s very much like King Crimson. It takes on some hints of Jethro Tull at times, too. It’s pretty crazed at points. There is a Beatles turned classical type excursion mid-track, too. There is some great space rock jamming later. The song continues to explore various musical terrains from there. It’s an extensive track and one of the best here
 
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