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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Medium Underground

Second Sight

Review by Tim Jones

Medium Underground is a progressive rock band fronted by songwriter/guitarist/ vocalist/keyboardist Jim Noland. Four other members help fill in the holes. Their first album, Second Sight, shows a lot of potential. Both music and lyrics are written by Noland. Some of the music is good, some is merely alright. The lyrics are high quality, and are what most impressed me about the album. Unfortunately, the vocals are weak; Noland has some obvious talent, but lead vocals are not part of that. Despite the vocals, I’m hoping to hear more from them in the future.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
As I Am
The music stays on a pretty simple pattern for most of the song, and it gets a bit repetitive. The lyrics also repeat a bit much. There is a nice instrumental bit three minutes in, and the guitar gets a bit more excited towards the end.
Light of the Muse
More pop than prog, the vocals are a little stronger (and there’s a few seconds where the vocalist sings without accompaniment). It has very basic lyrics. The bridge finally shows a bit of prog.
Frontiers
This starts out calm and quiet. There’s a fun bass part, but the vocals are weak and forced. The guitar sometimes makes the vocals hard to hear.
Second Sight
Guitars and bass introduce this song and remain strong through the rest of the title track. Good lyrics are dragged down again by the vocals.
Overcast
There's a nice guitar intro here. The song has a very thoughtful feel. The music is pleasant, and the best part is the bridge, which features dueling guitars.
Road Less Traveled
A cool intro starts off my favorite track of the album. The lyrics are very good, and this time the music delivers too. “Take the road less traveled / and I’ll keep keeping on. / Put the past behind me / I’m right where I belong.” The song closes with an instrumental bit.
Seeds
The vocals again detract from the quality of the song. There’s a very fun guitar bridge here, providing great contrast to the simpler chorus and verses. The order of the lyrics in the booklet is mixed up…not a big deal, but annoying.
Fortunes Overdue
There are some very cool guitars here. The dark, strong guitars contrast with the light, weak vocals. Brief references to the Bible and to the Lord of the Rings appear.
Exiles
This track has a very upbeat feel. It's one of my favorites from this album. The chorus demands attention with its strong vocals and guitars.
 
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