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The Spaces Between

Let’s Leave It at This for Now

Review by Gary Hill

Certainly fans of Yes and specifically Jon Anderson will be drawn to this disc. That’s because he guests on the closing track. It’s a safe bet that prog purists (and I know some Yes fans who fit into that category) probably won’t know what to make of this. It has an indie sound that is related to a lot of the alternative rock based modern prog out there. A lot of the real progressive rock purists don’t consider that prog. Personally, I think they are dead wrong. This set has a lot of leanings toward this act or that, but overall it’s quite original and inventive. The sound is a bit indie, meaning it feels a little DIY and rough around the edges. That’s more in terms of the way the sounds gel together than it is anything else and it’s more about the mix and production. It’s also one of the charms. I’d have to say that there are some elements here that do make me think of early Yes. It’s far from any kind of clone, but there are some hints here and there. All in all, this is quite an entertaining set.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Underwater Castle

Some cool echoey guitar opens this. The bass joins after a time and lends a different kind of sound to the proceedings. This is rather psychedelic with some space sound in it. Yet it’s kind of along the lines of shoegaze and also something like Radiohead. It’s intriguing, that’s for sure.

Independence
Drums start off here. They bring it out into a cool jam that’s rather alternative rock based. Still, psychedelia and jam band sounds are also on this. Add in some hints of jazz and you’ll have the general idea. They bring some almost symphonic, cinematic sounds to the table at times, too. This is a real breezy kind of number that’s fun.
Games
Combine Phish and Ozric Tentacles into one progressive rock band with some hints of Yes and you’ll have a good idea of what this energetic rocker feels like. I love the guitar riffing on this and the rather funky bass groove is awesome, too. This is one of the highlights of the set. I like it a lot. The instrumental section includes some guitar work that makes me think of Yes’ original guitarist Peter Banks quite a bit. Some of the keyboards during that extended section have an almost video game vibe, too.
Only Thing Left

The main song structure has hints of jazz with a lot of alternative rock. There is a harder edged section mid-track that’s very cool. Overall, this one is good, but not one of my favorites here.

Jubilation
Imagine The Red Hot Chili Peppers as a modern alternative rock based funky prog band. You’ll have a good idea of what this sounds like. It’s an energetic song with a great groove. There’s a jam later in the piece that feels a lot like early Yes.
Century
Chili Peppers are a valid reference point on the opening here. They shift it to something a little different from there, though. Still, the rhythm section continues to drive the influence home. This is very much alternative rock based progressive rock. Again, there are some hints of the type of music Yes did on their first couple albums. A more melodic movement later in the piece and a powered up section both add some variety and drama to this.
Let It Out
This feels a bit more mainstream in some ways. It’s got a lot of the familiar things in terms of musical reference, though. I love the soaring section later in the piece, too. The guitar solo segment is quite intense, as well. The piece gets some great funky 1970s vibes later in that movement.
Orchasm (with Jon Anderson)
They definitely saved the best for last. This is the one that’s most likely to appeal to prog purists. It’s a magical piece that takes many of the musical leanings we’ve heard thus far and turns them into a real thrill ride. It’s overall pretty mellow and it has a snowballing approach in terms of the song growth. There are definite symphonic elements here. The addition of the second vocal (and especially when it’s none other than Jon Anderson) adds a lot to the closing section of the piece. I love this song and it is definitely the best choice for closer.
 
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