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Danny Brill

Better Late Than Never

Review by Gary Hill

Old school prog fans should find plenty to like here. That said, modern progressive rock aficionados will probably like it, too. A lot of this feels tongue in cheek – which makes it fun, but the musicianship is top notch. Keep your ears peeled for a guest appearance by Tony Levin on a couple songs, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Baker's Dozen
A tasty keyboard sound leads off here. As other instruments join this feels like a dark sort of fusion. They shift a bit more towards the light for a time, but then fire out into a smoking guitar solo over the top of the earlier segment. They continue by alternating between dark and light. It also drops way down for a keyboard only interlude. At times I’m reminded a bit of Genesis on this number.

Double Feature: Part 1, Cyclops
This is far more classically oriented. It’s got some cool twists and turns and reminds me in many ways of ELP and also of Pentwater. This one has vocals. The sections with the vocals feel almost operatic.

Double Feature: Part 2, David
Here is a stark contrast. This is pretty and bouncy. At times I hear early Genesis at other times a smooth jazz texture. While not nearly as impressive as some of the other stuff it’s a nice ballad that serves as a good chance to catch your breath.

Fanfare and Processional
This piece, as one might guess from the title, is a bit over the top. It’s very much in keeping with something we might have gotten from ELP. It’s a cool instrumental and at only a little over two minutes in length doesn’t outwear its welcome.

Yes It Is, No It's Not
The usual suspects of ELP and Pentwater are present here. We get some Peter Banks on the cool guitar lines, though – leading one to think of early Yes. The vocals are more like Flash or Starcastle. Considering that the lyrics are just the title, I’m tempted to say that they sound like Yes, but, not they don’t – OK, a little, but more like Flash or Starcastle.

Prelude/ Demented
The opening keyboard solo here at first feels like something from Rick Wakeman. As it moves onward, though, it resembles Keith Emerson more. When they launch out into the song proper there are bits of Genesis and ELP, but also healthy doses of King Crimson. There’s a cool interlude with just keys and some dialog. This song is quite jarring in its changes and some of the parts are a bit noisy, but it’s also very cool. I like this one a lot. In fact, I’d say it’s one of my favorites on show here.

Images In the Rain
This track has a rather balladic texture. It’s quite pretty and rather gentle, but it does move through some interesting changes. It’s another instrumental. The arrangement gets pretty lush at times.

Fantasyland
An unusual piece of music, the main song structure is akin to Joe Walsh (and I mean his silly side) with a bit of Pentwater thrown in. They work out into a killer jazzy arrangement here and there, though. I also love the killer Keith Emerson goes tongue in cheek keyboard solo.

Indjia
Appropriate to the title, this starts off with very Indian (East Indian that is) musical elements. The rest of the piece could best be described as variations on that theme.

Son of Bunsen Burner
Nearly the first three minutes of this are just a keyboard solo with soundbites laced over the top. It’s more atmospheric keys, though than melodic. When it moves out into the song proper it’s bouncy and quite cool. It reminds me quite a bit of something from Jellyfish. After only a minute or so in this motif, though, the cut is reworked into some serious keyboard weirdness. Then we get a powered up chorus that feels like some generic prog from the 1970’s – intentionally over the top in that aspect. This gives way to another keyboard solo, this one more melodic. At first we get sound loops over it. Then flute rises and carries a new melody. After this finishes the piano plays a line that feels a bit like a twist on “The Entertainer.” The guitar picks it up and it suddenly feels a bit like Jethro Tull. They work out from there, though, shifting it into heavier ground. This calls to mind Dream Theater quite a bit here. It is taken towards hard edged fusion before a metallic burst ends the CD.

 
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