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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dead Man

Euphoria

Review by Gary Hill

Fans of psychedelia should be all about this CD. Dead Man have captured a sound that is so rooted in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that it’s scary. They have delivered a tasty slab of sound that has bits of the blues, some progressive rock and other sounds in it. The main ingredient in this sonic soup, though, is psychedelic rock and the other music of the 1960’s.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Today
Acoustic guitar leads things off and then the group move into a progression that’s sort of one part Pink Floyd, one part Crosby Stills and Nash and one part Grateful Dead. This is a great spacey jam that also has something in common with Porcupine Tree. I definitely hear Jefferson Airplane on some of the later segments, too. Around the three minute mark this moves out to an expansive powerhouse jam that’s about half psychedelic jam band sounds and half progressive rock. When they come back out into the song proper I make out some Hawkwind, mostly in the vocals. This is a killer tune and a great way to start things off in style.

High Or Low
This comes in feeling like what the Allman Brothers might sound like doing “Willy and the Hand Jive.” It takes on a different, more typical psychedelic tone as they move forward, but there is also a dark texture to this. They take it into more prog like textures as they move through some great instrumental motifs. The track drops back to quite mellow, and very proggy, ballad-like progressions and as they jump back up the psychedelically tinged prog rock textures are all over this. They turn it to a more hard-edged, blues rock styled sound for the next vocal segment. We get some cool jazz-like structures with Peter Banks styled guitar sounds to take us to the end.
Footsteps
Here they play it more mellow. This has a rather playful, old world sound to it in a lot of ways. It reminds me a bit of the band H. P. Lovecraft or perhaps Love. This is definitely 1960’s styled music. The vocal arrangement definitely calls to mind H.P.L.  This is powered up later and turned into a killer jam, but the general musical motif remains intact. A false ending gives way to a new section that has a bit of a plodding feel to it, but also some great guitar soloing.
I Must Be Blind
This is some the most pure 1960’s pop rock music on the disc. The vocals have a bit of a warble at times, like Tyrannosaurus Rex – and I’ve never liked that sound – so it turns me off a bit. The music here is powerful, though. And this song is reasonably strong.
From A Window
This is a short little bouncy acoustic guitar solo.

Light Vast Corridors
When this comes in it reminds me a lot of Steve Howe’s old band Tomorrow. This is a powerhouse jam that’s quite psychedelic, but also has elements of proto-metal. They work through harder rock sections but intersperse them with mellow music. Hawkwind-like keyboards skirt across the arrangement here and there. This one is quite prog-like. They end it with a weird backwards tracked section.
The Wheel
The first half of this track is a psychedelic, prog-like instrumental section. The second half is more psychedelically tinged retro rock like the majority of the CD.
Rest In Peace
The comparisons to H. P. Lovecraft are very well-deserved on this powerhouse jam. It’s quite a dynamic piece, but never loses sight of its retro-inspirations. The flute on the number brings in some comparisons to Jethro Tull, but without that instrument, Ian Anderson’s group would never be thought of.
A Pinch of Salt
This countrified number has some more of that warbly singing. Beyond that it’s got healthy doses of The Grateful Dead. This gets more energized as it moves along, but never really steers clear of these musical references. There’s a lyrical quote from Led Zeppelin’s “Lemon Song,” and I suppose at times this could be said to have some sounds similar to that bands more roots music material.
Euphoria
This one doesn’t differ a lot from the rest of the CD. Rather, it’s another slab of 1960’s music delivered in the modern day. It’s not that the album is getting boring, because it isn’t, but there’s also not a lot you can say in terms of differentiating this track from the ones that preceded.
July
They close things out with a number that’s still very much in keeping with the group’s sound. This instrumental is bouncy, catchy and fun. It will sit in your head for a long time and leave you with the urge to start the album all over again.
 
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