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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Liquid Village

All At Once

Review by Gary Hill

While this disc might not be an easy one to throw into progressive rock, there are enough prog elements here to warrant its inclusion in the category. Indeed, while this band is certainly beholden to jam bands like the Grateful Dead, they also owe a debt to Yes and their progressive rock ilk. I’d have to say that the closest comparison I can come up with would be Echolyn, but still these guys fall back on the Allman Brothers and even reggae with more regularity than would that outfit. While this disc will probably not become your favorite album the smooth groove allowed by the jam band textures might make it one you dig out frequently just to hang with.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
All At Once
Percussion begins this. As the band kick in the groove has a bit of a jam band sound but combined with a jazz-fusion sort of neo-prog approach. This one is a nice introduction to the mode of this outfit. It seems to combine modern modes with retro ones. It also showcases a fairly complex vocal arrangement. The break on this cut starts with a section that is so Yes-like it’s almost scary, but it leads into a cacophonous jam that has more of a dissonant hard edged modern King Crimson sound. They work those Yesish themes back in later, though. The outro segment in particular is full of that sound.
Every Bubble Bursts
A Steve Howe like riff (mind you his more countrified side) starts this one off. They turn this into a rather reggae-like jam band sound from there, but there are still a lot of Howe-like guitar riffs throughout this one. This is bouncy and fun. They turn into some hard-edged frenzy later that feels more like Rush with Steve Howe playing over the top for an instrumental break.
Frustration Song
Odd percussion starts this and holds it for a time until eventually an acoustic guitar enters. This works through in a jazzy sort of prog ballad approach. The jam band sounds are just about missing on this cut. The instrumental break on this one is a shuffling groove with an acoustic guitar solo that feels almost Spanish in nature. While this one is a change of pace, it doesn’t work as well as some of the rest for me.
One The Flesh
This comes in feeling like a bluesy hard rocker. Certainly it kicks out harder than anything thus far. It’s the least prog of anything we’ve heard to this point, too. Instead this cut will call to mind ZZ Top, Stevie Ray Vaughn and others. Still, they add in some proggier segments at points in the track. While the southern rock nature of this cut is definitely a change, this one rocks out pretty well. The guitar solo on this one is quite meaty.
Make That Change
While this one is inoffensive and rather fun, it doesn’t do much at all for me. It’s more of the jam band sound than anything else. It’s not bad, it’s just not anything special.
Rockin' In His Chair
Now this is more like it! While the jam band sound still dominates this cut there are some great sonic textures at play here. This one is not a huge alteration from the previous number, but in terms of sound it’s miles away. There are some killer moments here. They drop it back to a more sedate segment later that’s brilliant. The movement that follows is another that’s very Yes-like. It then leads into a more free-form jazz type movement. This one is definitely a winner.
Moth
Spacey sounds start this one off, a bit like an echoey whale song. Eventually guitar comes in gradually to pull it up from there in a mode that seems to wander between Yes-like ballad approach and a bluesy texture. As they vocals enter it’s obvious that they are working the prog ballad style. This cut is one of the best on the disc, and certainly one of the most easily recognizable as progressive rock.
History
While the jam band elements are back, this groove still has a healthy dosage of prog thrown in. This is another quite tasty track. The guitar solo is particularly meaty. This one also includes some Yesish moments.
Jazzy Thang
As you might expect from the title a fusion sort of air pervades this piece of music. It’s another tasty groove that works quite well. This instrumental covers a good deal of musical ground and has some Dregs like moments.
Rope of Sand
That Southern rock bluesy grind starts this one off. It really feels a lot like the more rocking of the Allman Brothers’ territory. I’m not overly attached to this one, but it’s all right. They throw in some reggae-styled textures at times.
Looney Bin
While this starts in a similar mode to the track that came before, this one is a lot more effective. It turns into a more sparsely arranged bouncy jam that’s fun. At over six minutes in length this is the longest cut on the disc (you might notice that the one that follows shows up as longer, but that includes a hidden track – shhhh – I never said that; it’s a secret), it’s also the most dynamic, shifting styles frequently. That means it has a little something for everyone.
Twisted
This jam is one that combines both the jam band elements and progressive rock tendencies. It’s definitely a cool one, but possibly not the best choice for disc closer.
Hidden Track
A traditional Native American jam comes in after some moments of silence.
 
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