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The Prog Collective

Worlds on Hold

Review by Gary Hill

The Prog Collective always puts out interesting music. It's a project that has Billy Sherwood at its core. He is more or less responsible for it, but gathers together a whole host of musicians to complete the various tracks of the albums. This set has some amazing music, but doesn't hold that level of quality throughout. I'd say that once it gets into the cover songs it doesn't stand as tall as the first part of the disc. Still, that's all relative because everything here is quite good. Some of it just reaches beyond that level of quality.

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Track by Track Review
Worlds On Hold

Cool keyboards bring this into being. The cut eventually grows outward from there. A cool hard rocking mode takes over as the piece grows outward. I love Todd Rundgren's vocals here. The lyrics are all about the pandemic. I don't know how I feel about that. It almost seems too soon for me to process the whole situation without some trepidation. Still, the song works well. In addition to Rundgren, L. Shankar is on board providing violin.

Two Trajectories
The lead vocals on this number are provided by Geoff Tate while Ron Bumblefoot Thal plays lead guitar. Again keyboards bring this into being. The cut works out to an arrangement that seems to merge progressive rock with some hints of fusion. The number has some interesting shifts and changes along the road. This definitely takes on some decidedly Yes-like sounds at points. This is quite a dynamic ride. There are some cool heavier guitar moments.
Anything But Goodbye
This comes in with a good energy and groove. Again this has some cool twists and turns. It also feels quite a bit like Yes, but there are parts that make me think of The Beatles, too. There are some moments where Sherwood's bass work sounds so much like Chris Squite on this tune. This song is one of a couple that are very Yes-based in terms of personnel. In addition to Sherwood, Jon Davison (vocals) and Patrick Moraz (keyboards) are on the number.
Meant To Be
More of an AOR prog concept is in command here. There are some great hooks on the tune, and I really love some of the keyboard work. The meaty guitar soloing late is strong, too. That guitar soloing is provided by Jan Akkerman who handles the lead guitar on the song.
Brave New World
I really love this song. It is a bit mellower than some of the rest here. Sonja Kristina's vocals work so well on this. The tune does have some meaty edges to at times, particularly mid-track. It also works out to some spacey stuff for a time. This has some great turns and variants along the road.  Steve Hillage is the lead guitarist on this number.
Glory Days Ahead
Arjen Anthony Lucassen is the lead singer on this piece. Another that starts a little mellower, this cut works out with style and charm from there. It also has some cool changes. The guitar solo sections are so awesome. Then again, what do you expect when it's Steve Hackett? The chorus hook on this is AOR gold.
Solsbury Hill
Roine Stolt handles the vocals and lead guitar on this cover of the classic Peter Gabriel song. This version is pretty cool. Actually, to be fair, it's a great rendition. The thing is, the original is such a classic that I don't think anyone can ever touch it. They make a great attempt, though.
A Whiter Shade of Pale
This is an intriguing rendition of the Procol Harum piece. Graham Bonnet really sounds great handling the lead vocals on this number. The tune manages to bring a fresh angle to the tune. There is a blues rock edge here that works well. Derek Sherinian does a great job providing the keyboards to the song.
Eye In The Sky
The introduction to this is intriguing. As it gets into the verse section it is more what you expect for this tune. That said, there seems to be a slight fusion angle at least early. The cut gets into some proggier zones as it continues. I really love the bass sound on this number. In addition to Sherwood the song features Joe Lynn Turner on vocals and Martin Barre on lead guitar.
Nights In White Satin
David Clayton Thomas sings on this song, while Geoff Downes provides the keyboards. I really like the mellow, yet bombastic groove of this version of the classic Moody Blues song. It's faithful, but also a definite departure. It works really well, and gets into some great prog zones.
Bonus Tracks:


Penny Lane

This is a bouncy kind of version of the tune. It has some great backing vocals, and the late-great John Wetton really makes this work so well with all the vocals. This is more in line with the kind of music you'd expect from The Beatles than it is prog. It's classy stuff, however you label it, though.

More Than A Feeling
Here we get sort of a Yes version of the classic tune from Boston. Tony Kaye handles the keyboards, and Alan White plays drums. Billy Sherwood does the rest.
People Are Strange
This is definitely not proggy at all. It's a rough and tumble rock version of the Doors classic. It really does fit with a punk aesthetic that you might expect knowing that the vocals are handled by David Johansen. This does get into some weird psychedelic punk zones. Scott Connor mans the drum kit on the tune.
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