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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lands End

An Older Land

Review by G. W. Hill

Lands End`s music combines textural layering with emotional intensity and progish arrangements in a wonderfully original combination that really pleases. This album features Jeff McFarland, Francisco Neto, Mark Lavallee and Fred Hunter. Also appearing is Sean Villarosis.

If not available in your local Tower Records, all Lands End albums are available in the US from Lands End, 5532 W. 119th Place, Inglewood, CA., USA 90304 for $12.00 each, including shipping.

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

Track by Track Review
Ashes
A prog ballad, this is a strong and beautiful song. Much of the guitar work seems to have a Steve Hackett flavor.
Wind Across the Water
Starting atmospheric, the cut builds in intensity and emotion. Sections here have prog metal leanings, but the song really is solid prog. This one alternates between the near metal sections and delicate soft segments, for a nice contrast. His drum work on this cut is quite effective.
Wake to Find Me Dead
After a Marillionish intro, this one turns rather poppy, but still with a melancholy texture. As it moves into the chorus, the tune kicks into gear. Slight East Indian textures, mostly in the guitar work, merge with higher energy for this segment. It then reverts to the earlier mode for the verse, and alternates between these sections before leading into a wonderfully passionate extended guitar solo. The solo section brings the intensity of the piece up about 8 notches to take it home.
Jazz Magic Potion
Starting in a blues mode, this song really is quite jazzy. The fun first couple verses give way to a jazz based jam that really grooves, featuring some strong scat singing and wonderful organ work. This jam then leads back into the earlier segments of the piece.
K
Atmospheric keyboard work begins this piece, to be joined shortly by lovely acoustic guitar. A Floydish instrumental texture pervades the early segments of the song, a beautiful, reflective and poignant piece. " Too much green tea, too many cigarettes, And not enough sleep, I never knew how painful this combination could be." This is a Lands End classic that really grabs the listener. After a time, the song breaks into a rockier mode with lyrically desperation. "I`m holding on, I`m barely holding on."
Dross
A textural intro gives way to lovely picked guitar sounds. This piece builds in intensity, taking on some very jazzish tones at times, and is solid prog all the way. The instrumental section that makes up better than the first ten minutes of the song is quite powerful and satisfying. At over 25 minutes in length, epic certainly describes this composition.
Love Forever
This brief piece, under 3 minutes, is a ballad with prog textures.
Love Through The Winter and Blood In The Spring
Early parts of this song seem to blend Marillion, Pink Floyd and Genesis. One of my favorite Lands End songs, this is a catchy prog number that will definitely have you singing along. This track, a definite winner on Natural Selection, seems even stronger here. Being of epic proportions, this piece features a great drum solo, wonderful spacey jam and talking drum.
The Last Word
A somewhat funky prog number, this one includes inspired performances by all the musicians.
Hidden Track
Hidden after The Last Word is a nice instrumental groove that builds with much of Lands End`s trademark layering.
 
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