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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John Hackett

Another Life

Review by Gary Hill

Anthony Phillips plays on one song and (his brother) Steve Hackett is featured on several, bringing a Genesis reference to this. Musically, though, it doesn’t often feel like Genesis. What we get here is some modern AOR prog with a lot of classic elements at play. This is an extremely strong set sure to please a wide range of music fans, really. .

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Another Life

As this starts, it reminds me of the guitar sound and arrangement of Kiss’ “I Still Love You..” That’s one of my favorite Kiss songs to a large part because of that opening sound, so that is a good comparison. The verse comes in over the top of that, but it works out to a more powered up AOR prog jam for the chorus. This is such a great song.

Look Up
Coming in a bit harder edged and more intense, this has a great prog rock vibe, too. There are some bits that call to mind Genesis (as one might expect), but there is a lot more here, too. I can make out some hints of psychedelia and more. It’s another classy and diverse piece of music.
Poison Town
This has much more of a blend of jazz and classical music. It’s classy stuff. The symphonic elements are pretty, and this piece feels rather electronic in some ways.
White Lines
More of a rocker, this is dramatic. There are hints of something like Pink Floyd here. I dig the atmosphere and vibe of this, but I also like the guitar soloing.
Life in Reverse
Piano starts this. The cut works out with a balladic approach from there. It’s mellower and pretty. Jazz and prog blend with pop music here. It grows out in terms of pace and intensity, but only a little really. The flute adds a nice touch.
Burnt Down Trees
A mid-tempo piece, this is more like retro pop rock. Still, there is jazz along with some soul in the mix. Yet, there are proggy elements, too.
Satellite
Harmonica comes over the top of some pretty guitar based melodies. This is pretty, mellow and rather slow. There are definitely hints of old Genesis in the guitar sections, but that makes sense. A harmonica solo mid-track is a nice touch.
Forest
Mellow and pretty, this seems to live somewhere between modern prog rock and jazzy pop rock.
Magazine
There isn’t a huge change here, but this has some definite classical elements. It’s a pretty and poignant piece of music. I love the guitar soloing on this instrumental section that emerges later.
Rain
This is more of a rocker. I love the guitar fills on it. It’s energetic and quite strong.
Actors
A mid-tempo piece, this is another that has a lot of that modern prog merged with jazz in the mix. Yet, there is some classical, too. Some of the guitar sounds that dance over the top really add a lot of class to this thing. It is one of my favorites of the set. Given the strength of the competition, that says a lot.
Another Day, Another Night
A more energized cut, there is definitely a lot of jazz built into this. It’s less proggy than some of the rest, but still has a lot in common with some modern prog.
Poison Town Reprise
There is a bluesy rock element to this slow moving number. It’s a bit of a return to the previous cut, as the title implies.
 
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