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Progressive Rock CD Reviews



Review by Josh Turner

The album is equal to the debut, but not entirely equivalent. The music is booming and bombastic in this release. The production is extraordinarily crisp and clear. The earlier album was a lot less symphonic and used more of a traditional folk style. Grace is a modern wonder, crafted on an assembly line with precisely calibrated tools. First Light, however, had the style and grace of a well-preserved antique. As a result, this album sounds like it came from a different group than their first. While the recording is superior, the songwriting has changed. The melodies aren't as catchy, but they're wonderful nonetheless. The musicianship is another matter, as it is much improved. Both albums can be appreciated in their own right, but it is hard to see how each one could have come from the same band.

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Track by Track Review
Into The Night
The album starts with a national weather advisory. This is followed by a guitar solo that very closely resembles "Amazing Grace". If you can recall, "Cat's in the Cradle" was integrated into the epic on the first album. A pattern seems to be developing. This song is a combination of Blue Oyster Cult, Pink Floyd, and Yes. While the debut's start was an old windmill turning leisurely over the current of a lazy river, this song has a dark and industrial sound like a finely-tuned engine cranked to its fullest capacity.
An acoustic guitar along with a synthesized bassoon are the first ones awake in the morning. The sun slowly peaks out from the horizon. As the day unfolds, a fog covers the sky and the day turns dark and misty. It's still cheery, but visibility is low. Dana's voice helps guide the way with a spark of light shining through the treetops.
This track opens with an excellent electric guitar lick. Clark takes over the lead singing. He's learned how to effectively use the characteristics in his voice to work to his advantage. The harmonies are much improved over the last album, especially towards the end of this song. There are a lot of fine details to be found here and the house is in order. Everything is aligned in immaculate fashion and all the trash has been put away. This song has a real clean and tidy feel to it. You're almost able to smell the fresh spring air coming through the windows.
There is interesting interplay between the acoustic guitar, bass, and piano. There is an elegant dance that goes on between them. The keyboards and electric guitar join in shortly thereafter. This is one of the better compositions on the album. It is more complex than the others, but still remains to be somewhat accessible. The piano is like a kid with a toboggan. He slowly climbs the steep hill. Once at top, his descent down is swift. He repeats the cycle many times with glee.
Riding along a dirt road, the buggy bounces to a consistently edgy beat created by the bass and drums. The melody lines from the guitar are like luggage overhead that shifts with every pothole and bump.
A tower bell rings in order to signal the townspeople of an emergency meeting. The sermon is strange and spooky. An outsider has been seen lurking in the forests. The mob slops through the muddy dry woods in search of the trespasser. Sinister intentions lie beneath the surface. The town is not hospitable to visitors who break through their borders. The song is mostly slow and drawn out, which results in a sense of anxiety.
This cut is a change of pace from the last. It's sugar and spice and everything nice. The piano is like a school of fish piercing through pond water. These aquatic creatures make undulating spheres on the surface that trickle into tiny waves. While Dana's singing is sharp, the others place their harmonies at just the right pitch. The songwriting closely compares to the debut album.
Clark continues with some of his best singing. This is an amalgamation of Guns N' Roses, Rush, Starcastle, and folk. Kevin's bass is pure bliss. His notes step quickly between the tires in a incessant drill to impress the coaches.
Falling Down
Dana's voice is light and airy. She is a mythical elfin princess and her voice captures all our attention. When she sings, it is like a magical spell being cast upon us. The instrumentals are pleasant pulses of energy that glow all around her.
Over Again
The guitars and bass are a litter of playful pups. There is constant chaos as each one chases the other. When they fall down, they immediately get back up and continue in their mischief. They perform amusing acts and try to catch their own tails. After a few yawns, they burn out and take a peaceful nap.
Into The Light
The various themes are reprised. The harmony in this one is like a gospel choir. This is a great finale as it brings everything to a tranquil state. The last moments drift off into the landscapes of Tangerine Dream. The album is a great effort with home improvements that succeed in increasing the value of this residence. Based upon the dichotomy of differences between this album and their premiere, it will be interesting to see where Farpoint moves to next.
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