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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dee Long

Welcome To The Future

Review by Gary Hill

The first point that needs to be gotten out right up front – this CD wouldn’t be lumped into the progressive rock category based on its own merits. Instead it would be put into the non-progressive grouping as a uniquely charming piece of pop rock. Since the beginning of MSJ, though, any release by a member of a prog band has always been put into the prog section regardless. While there are those out there who wouldn’t consider Long’s old band Klaatu as prog, I happen to be one who does. Therefore Long’s solo releases get put into this category, too. So, what type of an album is this? Well, as I said, it’s more pop rock than anything else. It’s also a little odd. That oddness has a definite charm, though, especially if you can tie into Long’s sense of humor. In that sense you can probably find ties to such artists as Randy Newman. Mind you, the music doesn’t sound like Newman’s, though. In fact, the tunes on show here are really all over the musical landscape. Because of that some work better than others. Make no mistake, though. This album is good fun.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Welcome To The Future
This is an odd sort of bouncy ballad. It’s full of humor both in the lyrical and the musical take. This is essentially an acoustic rock based folk song.
Take My Advice
While on the one hand this feels like a bouncy folk pop rock song, I hear elements of Hawkwind on the arrangement, too. Again the lyrics are quite humorous. “Take my advice because I’m not using it.”
Travelin' Man
With a whistling, bouncy arrangement, this one feels quite retro and it’s lots of fun. I’d have to say that this is really one of my favorite tracks on the disc.
Money Comes In
This rocker has a great retro rocking sound and some cool keyboard textures. This is one of the highlights of the disc with just a touch of funk and a whole lot of cool.
Wicked
More killer retro textures make up this one, with the keyboard sound simply ruling. If the last number had a touch of funk, this one is simply oozing with it. This is definitely another of the strongest pieces on show here. It’s probably the first cut on the disc that has any musical links to Klaatu.
Do Nothing Day
Here we get another mellow, ballad-like piece of music. This has some definite Beatles type elements in the later segments.
The Pasta Song
Well, with a title like that, do you expect an extremely serious track? Well, if you answered “yes,” you’ll be disappointed with this one. This is funny, but a bit odd. I’m not sure if I like it. Still, with only one questionable track on the disc, who’s complaining?
Eastern Girl
This starts off in a balladic style, but as it carries on we get more layers of sound. As we do the Beatles influences return as do the musical links to Long’s old band. While I don’t know if I’d consider this to be one of the best tracks on the disc, it’s definitely a step up from the previous one.
Get Along
A slow groove makes up the mode to this odd little track. Again, I wouldn’t consider it to be a highlight of the disc, but it has its moments, especially on the chorus.
Ramifications of Love
This is one of the coolest tracks on the CD. It’s got a cool retro groove, but also manages to move out into jam band space-like sounds at times.
Anything Can Happen In A Dream
Another highlight of the album, this is a mellow, but quite powerful, ballad. I particularly enjoy the expansive rather “dreamy” jam that comes in later in the piece.
You
This is another strong track, a mid-tempoed, rather mysterious sounding, bouncy jam. It’s another that works quite well. The guitar solo on this one is particularly tasty.
Objects In Motion
Here we get another bouncy rocker that’s pretty cool. It’s another that feels a bit like Klaatu at some times, but also reminds me of early Steve Miller Band. The guitar solo section on this one might bring up echoes of modern King Crimson.
Movies
This is an extremely mellow track that has some definite charms, but isn’t one of the strongest cuts on show here.
 
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