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Light Freedom Revival


Review by Gary Hill

There is a concept called "the sophomore jinx," which says that no matter how strong a debut album is, there is a good chance the follow up won't be as good. To some degree I think that's true here. Don't get me wrong there are some good songs here. Besides that, while the first album had a tendency toward being "samey," there is more variety here. That's not to say this is completely without that monolithic tendency, but it's much better.

The thing is, there are some moments where this feels a bit clunky and awkward. Also, this is a lot less progressive rock like than the first set was. A lot of times it feels like mainstream folk rock songs just get some elements added to them to try to make them "prog."  Overall, this is a set that's worth checking out, but it's not as impressive as the first disc was, and that one wasn't without its flaws. I'm looking forward to hearing what we get once this act is past that "sophomore jinx."

The main man behind this act is John Vehadija. Among those taking part in this project with him are Billy Sherwood and Oliver Wakeman, creating a definite Yes connection.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 5. More information and purchase links can be found at:
Track by Track Review
Lies No More
Intricate and classy prog starts this cut. It works through the introduction by painting some intriguing musical patterns. It drives out from there to the song proper for the vocals. This is a rather bouncy and accessible tune that is so cool. It works through some different sections, but overall is a rather mainstream and straight line cut. That lands it more in the territory of AOR progressive rock.
A bit mellower than the opener, there are some hints of world music and other textures here. I dig the melodic guitar solo a lot. This whole piece is just so classy. It still lands well in the AOR prog zone. It's one of my favorite songs on this disc. There are some particularly effective textures built into it.
Lady Marian
Mellow musical concepts make up the intricate start of this. In a lot of ways the opening section of this makes me think of a proggy version of the band America.
Jesus with a Guitar
More of a mainstream rock song, there is still some progressive rock built into it. This has a real late 60s kind of happy hippie folk rock feeling overall.
Allah Is Cool
I dig the prog meets folk rock vibe of this. It reminds me quite a bit of "Caravan," from earlier on the disc. This melodic AOR progressive rock that works well. There are even some hints of country music in some of the folk stylings on this number.
Another AOR styled cut, this is more of a mainstream folk rock tune than it is progressive rock, but there are enough prog elements to keep it interesting. That said, some of the changes and general concepts on this tune just feel a bit awkward to me, making it a number that misses a bit on this set.
Judgement Day
This is very much a folk rock song that's quite mainstream in nature. It's more effective than the last piece, but nothing particularly special.
As this starts it feels like something Jimmy Buffett might do. It works out from there to a proggier sort of arrangement. There are some intriguing shifts and turns built into this cut. I particularly dig some of the bass sounds on this.
A pretty and rather sad sounding keyboard arrangement opens this number and holds it for a time. Guitar replaces the keys after that, and the cut starts to gradually work forward from there. This cut has a bit more of a real prog concept in his construction. Of course, at over 16 minutes of music, just the epic scale would make that true. The cool mellower jam around the seven and a half minute mark is particularly proggy. As the tune continues to evolve there is another killer prog movement around the nine and a half minute mark. The cut continues with an AOR prog approach to take it, and the album, to its close.
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