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Jim Ladd

Headsets: Chapter II: Sides

Review by Gary Hill

Here’s the second disc in the Headsets series. Just like last time, Jim Ladd provides the spoken words while Billy Sherwood plays the music. This one is all original, and the two of them do pretty much everything here. It’s a poignant and powerful release that’s artistic and theatric, while still remaining entertaining.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Flash of Our Existence

This is basically ambient music accompanying the spoken narration.

One by One
Here we get a bouncing prog rock tune that has a lot in common with Yes, but it’s hard rocking modern prog at the same time.
True Believer
This short spoken movement is very poignant in terms of its message.
Who's to Say
A slow moving, and quite bluesy, progressive rock tune is laid out here. It’s very Pink Floyd-like in its approach. The wall of sound vocal approach is Yes-like.
Faith
The concept continues as Ladd discusses faith.
In Between
Melodic progressive rock opens this and the musical concepts group up gradually from there. This one is more Yes-like. The guitar solo on this is quite cool and has a rather unique sound to it. This is quite an involved and powerful rocker as it continues.
The Other Side of the Screen
Here is an ambient bit of sound with a narration about the concept of the world divided between television and reality.
Parallel Universe
Sherwood creates a catchy and yet complicated musical journey here that’s in keeping with Yes-like stylings. This is melodic and powerful. There’s a killer guitar solo on display here.
Strength
This is another narrated section. It’s another with a poignant message.
Opposing Forces
A melodic and mellow motif is created to bring this one in and grow it out. It powers out for a David Gilmour-like guitar solo later. It pounds out hard as it continues and there are some killer textures over the top.
Live and Let Live
Another spoken segment, this has an important message.
Hypocrisies
Pointing out the hypocrisies people carry can be tricky business. It is good melodic music at the same time, though. There is a smoking hot guitar solo on this that’s quite extended.
Border Lines
We get the next spoken section here.       
War and Peace
More Yes-like progressive rock powers out here and this grows out from there. The guitar sounds here are crunchier and the vocal arrangement is among the best on the album. In fact, this is one of my favorite tracks of the whole set.
Sides
A more song oriented, acoustic guitar based movement serves as the background for this spoken section. It moves straight into the next cut.
As Worlds Collide
There’s a lot of energy and power to this killer progressive rock tune. We get a smoking hot instrumental jam later on that’s complex and powerful.
Haunted by Diversity
Ladd is joined by Helene Hodge on this spoken piece.          
Coexistence
Sherwood gives us another killer melodic, but hard edged progressive rocker here. I really dig the hard rocking, almost bluesy, guitar solo Sherwood gives us on this tune.
Two Sides
Ladd speaks, but the music is more “song-oriented” than the music on any of the other pieces. It’s a killer proggy tune with a lot of Pink Floyd and Yes built into it. It’s really a great way to bring both sides of the album together. Ladd’s spoken parts are killer, but so is Sherwood’s music.
 
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