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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Frost

Milliontown

Review by Josh Turner

I’m sure you’ve heard of a one-hit wonder. Well, that usually refers to a single sing-able song. In this case, this entity could be categorized under a classification that’s much rarer: a one-album-wonder. For the record – no pun intended – that’s a better designation. Bands of this genre are known for their technical prowess, musical aptitude, glitz, vigor and lets be honest; copious amounts of pretentious flash. They are rarely known for their songwriting sensibilities or their vocals. Well, let’s just say one of these obstacles has been formidably squashed. Dare to guess? Okay, it’s the former. Like Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, or Curt Schilling, they’ve got all their bases covered whilst leaving relatively little opportunity for a balk. Without beating around the bush, this is some of the strongest songwriting I’ve ever heard from the genre. I guess this means that I’m letting this batter walk even if I’m giving scrutiny to their singers. To be honest, they aren’t really anemic or weak in that category. Yet, I wouldn’t say that this aspect of their repertoire is stellar. Overall, it’s enough to get a pass. Simon Cowell or Piers Morgan could be almost as forgiving since this talent show offers magicians, comedians, and jugglers. Music is not just for singers anymore. For proof, look no further than the Simpson sisters: Jessica and Ashlee. At any rate, I would definitely pass over the rapping grandma for this remarkable shtick.

If anything, insiders plus plenty of interlopers have lodged this complaint in regards to the genre. So I felt it necessary to address the issue. Personally, I enjoy their methodically-modulated lilt as their voices are filtered with electronic sieves. As an individual who is hypercritical of music, you’ll be stunned to hear that I find Frost to be amazing. If that means I’m a hypocrite, so be it. The band is innovative in the sense that they take contemporary music and traverse it through another step of evolution. Rather than rewind or fuse solder points with cheap tricks, they surpass the conventional motif. Utilizing the latest and greatest gizmos, they build a hybrid between past and future tense. With steel and wood intertwined, this brings the glory days of rock in touch with the sensible nature of pop. They’re like Kino and Arena; only much better. As good as those bands were, this permutation of John Jowitt, Andy Edwards, and John Mitchell is totally killer.

To let you know, the one in charge of this outfit is an Englishman named Jem Godfrey. He’s responsible for making this amalgamation gel. Not to mention, he’s so stellar on the keyboards, he’s astral with the instrument. As for their team cheer, delivery of the doggerel is a joint effort between the front-man, Godfrey, and his co-captain, Mitchell. Nonetheless, the resourcefulness and vision is mainly due to the foreign pioneer. He’s culpable for the compositional creativeness. In addition, he’s penned the structure’s advanced design. For those unfamiliar with his famous name, he’s known in his homeland for a run of billboard hits. His stint in the contemporary realm does this body of music good. At the end of the day, it’s what makes this brood molt. If you were waiting for something new, it’s essential you invest. Simply put, this product must be purchased as its value is much greater than what comes up on the cash register. When it was initially played for me, I felt as if I had laid my ears upon an instant masterpiece. I was sure these guys would take the genre by storm. Unfortunately, they were washed up much too soon after this free bird and wombat was let go. The mastermind could not fulfill the orders that this spin on his profession had produced. It was a quandary in an already querulous schedule. Ultimately, he had to cancel tours and renege on contracts that had projected another pair of albums. Suffice to say, when this happened; he burned bridges with festival coordinators, record labels, and even the very musicians in his newly-formed covey. Whether or not these overpasses have since been patched, the statistical chance for reconciliation is equivalent or very nearly close to null. All we can do is sit back and enjoy what’s left in this highly-melodic but ill-fated wake. While there are only six songs and most are long - in many cases the themes extend far beyond the horizon - it bodes well for its purposes. The transitions are smooth and the content is consistent; making it hard to contemplate any of these cuts as separate. While Milliontown is neither in the chain of Six Flags or Cedar Fair, the attractions at this standalone site are so fantastic that they make Disneyland look bland.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Hyperventilate
Immediately, we are stunned by stilettos from the keyboards. The shrill instrument dominates this track. As it keeps our attention for the duration, it’s the last ivory bar that makes the impression stick. That fleeting tap is affixed like a Post-It Note on your refrigerator. More or less, this fluorescent tetragon stays put until it’s peeled and ripped from your frontal lobe.
No You No Me
This very catchy tune validates the fact that this album is not geared exclusively towards instrumentals. Right away, Godfrey’s uniquely-scrubbed voice is heard. As we progress through the album, we get more progressive elements. For now, it’s poppy. Unlike Seinfeld, I suggest you don’t shy away from the highly-malleable dough. 
Snowman
This is neither the Falcon’s friend, Daulton Lee, nor the protagonist from Spock’s Beard’s sixth studio album. Honestly, it doesn’t work in the grand scheme of this album, but it’s a nice song nonetheless. This icy dish is a throwaway - not because it’s bad - but because the others to follow are so good. Whilst Godfrey chants about a hollow scamp, there are plastic effects that contaminate this experimental test-tube of a track.
The Other Me
When speaking to Godfrey on the phone, there was a shriek on the other end of the receiver. I was told not to worry. In jest, I asked if there might be a lil’ Frankenstein running about his office. Like Mr. Hyde, he laughed but didn’t deny it either. As if this ditty was an innocuous toddler or a mighty morphing monster in a semi-altered state, it’s amusing on several levels. Yet, the crashing sounds in the vein of Nine Inch Nails are as grating as fingers on a chalkboard. As it progresses, there is shattering glass from overturned trestles and shelves. Amidst the mess, there is a pesky fly hovering above spilled garbage. In short order, the comedy from this little shop of horrors becomes painfully dramatic in no time flat. Still, I enjoy the histrionics that disgorge and spew from this euphonious ogre.
Black Light Machine
Along with the opener, this is tied for runner-up. It’s rigid and repetitive in the beginning. In the end of the commencement, it gets precariously jarring. Then it goes wildly astray due to Jowitt’s countless karate chops to the ear. Before this tallyho is completely shaken from the rails, it redirects itself in radical fashion. While I recommend against those with osteoporosis or a weak heart, this funk constitutes the most fun to be found on these here parts. Mitchell’s solos are spastic while Edward’s fills are groovy as heck. Due to its production, quality and complexity, I can hardly imagine them performing this live. This is an example of a song that was meant primarily for the studio. Considering the break-up, this will most likely be the only incarnation that we’ll ever hear of this dilettantish jam. Lucky for them, it could find itself so unripe in concert that it’d be inedible when played on stage. Despite that nagging detail, it works well within the cistern. If this is it, I can cope with the ration and make this generous wedge subsist.
Milliontown
Augmented with loops and drops, this might very well hold the world record for convincing false endings. In my humble opinion, all these elements seem to work to its benefit with one unwarranted exception: the last climb might be extraneous as they end on a favorable note well before they pass the station. Concatenate that with a superfluous silent gap and they’ve managed to compromise our delight. It seems to me that the purpose of this needless pause and pawing is to make us linger before we’re stifled by that final breathtaking stop. I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on being taunted. Like friction, these blasé maneuvers work against the momentum of tricked-out mine cart. Minor flaws aside, this is an excellent track that gives Dream Theater’s “Octavarium” a run for its money in terms of content and height. Subtract the silence and you probably have the same sheer length of steel rafters. To boot, this one burns with the intensity of C4 and drills a gargantuan hole upon its innumerable active triggers. I didn’t know the span when it began, but it’s apparent that it’s a concept that necessitates the broad footprint. It shares hermetics with Hades; that would be an anomaly anointed with the longest underground adit in the coveted archives of the roller coaster database. You don’t know which way it’s going to go but I guarantee it’s not straight. Securely bundled in this sable’s scarf, it’s dubious at best if you can take on any more stimuli. After several cycles through the turnstile; only then does the tunnel become predictable. As for me, I wouldn’t get dizzy even if I spun on this leviathan all day.
 
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