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Ready to Connect

Review by Gary Hill

This is really a hard artist to pin down stylistically. I've previously reviewed two of the songs here as singles (and the track reviews of those two are taken from those single reviews for the sake of consistency). When I did those reviews, I landed them under progressive rock. I am doing the same for this set, although it's not a tight fit. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of proggy stuff here, and it's all creative and progressive in that way. It's just that it's most certainly not old-school prog by any means.

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Track by Track Review
Ready To Connect
Noisy electronics open this cut in style. That introduction plays through. Then a cool, almost proggy sound comes in to move it forward. This thing continues to evolve with a driving, vaguely dark, dramatic arrangement. The break works out into a decidedly progressive rock based thing. As vocals soar over the top of that I'm reminded of both The Beatles and David Bowie. After that does its thing, they bring this back out into a harder rocking version of the earlier section. It has a bit of metal, some dark psychedelia and more in the mix. The chorus hook on this is positively infectious, and the tune is quite strong.
Hey Oh
Acoustic instrumentation is on display as this piece works out of the gate. For some reason this early section makes me think of Yes to some degree. When the vocals go away that image is replaced by something more modern. Still, this has a real old-school prog element in some ways. This song manages to combine that proggy thing with a fun sort of modern pop texture. It's an unexpected combination, but it works.
Deal Breaker
Coming in with a bit of a dramatic and melodic sound, this has a driving, almost mysterious element to it. The vocals come in over the top of that. As the cut shifts into the next zone it takes on some unusual textures. This has some classy shifts and turns built into it. It's dark, unexpected and very cool. A roaring rocking edge enters as the cut hits the final section.
A weird introduction with a bit of a Zydeco vibe gives way to a rock arrangement with those elements still built into it. This is art-rock at its core. It's a very unusual number. It also works quite well. There are some decidedly proggy shifts and changes as the thing works outward. It does get into some noisy zones, particularly with the almost screamed, frantic vocal movement.
Rage or Restrain
Tasty keyboard textures brings this into being to form the introduction. That drops away and acoustic guitar rises up. As the number grows from there I'm reminded of the band America. The vocals come in over that arrangement. The cut works out through a number of changes, powering up more later. It's one of the more decidedly proggy things here.
The third single from the set, some keyboards start it before it works out to an energetic guitar based jam from there. We're taken through a number of changes as it continues. There are some psychedelic elements, some punky ones and more. It's unique and energized.
Iko Iko

This is a cover of a song that people might know from performances of it by the Grateful Dead. Actually the original title of the cut was "Jock-A-Mo," but there is a rather contested story beyond the original rendition and title that's best left for discussion elsewhere. Several artists have had hits with it over the years under the  "Iko Iko" title. The song in this version starts in a folk meets punk kind of approach. It grows out later into a more powered up jam that has an AOR turned post punk vibe to it.

Now this is more decidedly proggy than some of the rest, but in a very modern way. It has psychedelia, alternative rock and more built into it.
Pity The Astronaut
I love the guitar work on this cut. The whole arrangement has a suitably spacey, dreamy quality. This is another that is quite purely prog rock based in an AOR way. The chorus is soaring and very effective. This is one of the highlights of the disc.
Who Wants To Fly Alone
This is fun and accessible. It has some jazz along with more proggy things built into the fast paced arrangement.
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