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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John McCormack

Peace of Mind

Review by Gary Hill

A word of advice to aspiring musicians, when you release your CD, give some serious thought to the cover. This disc has been sitting in a pile here at MSJ central, as the cover was so amateurish that I was afraid to spin it. It's a shame I waited this long as the disc is actually a very solid journey of progressive rock instrumental music. In truth, when releasing a CD the music is what really counts. But, if the cover discourages someone from taking it seriously, the music will never get heard. The group truly create a very entertaining bunch of musical excursions. The production is just a tiny bit low budget, but honestly, were it not for the cover, you probably wouldn't even notice it. I think the most interesting thing about this disc is the fact that these guys really understand the strength of varying their compositions and separating like songs from each other. I look forward to hearing more from this outfit - I hope they come up with a better cover next time, though. For more information, including ordering, check out the website.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Go Ahead and Rain
This one starts with the sounds of a rainstorm - now how else could it start? Piano and eventually other keys enter and begin to carry the song in pretty patterns of sound. After a time saxophone comes across, then the band launch into a quick paced and quite melodic musical excursion. The saxophone soloing truly makes this track what it is, though. Without it, it would be decent. With it, it is - great. It fades down to end.
Without A Doubt
This one jumps in with a quick paced, bouncy sort of melody that is more crunchy than the last number. This one is certainly a harder edged rocker than the one that opened the disc. It's still quite melodic and intriguing, though, as elements of a pretty jazz progression come over the top of this backdrop. This is an energetic prog rock instrumental, but not quite as effective as the previous one. Still the piano solo later is a nice touch.
Out of My Winter
This musical excursion is based around a pretty piano ballad melody, but as in the first number, the saxophone provides a lot of the points of interest here. This is another rather mellow, but very evocative jam. It turns the corner later into a more impassioned jam that works really well.
Booth Street (Forever You)
This one doesn't differ far in terms of format, but there is enough of a change in melody and execution to keep it from getting old. It has a pretty and joyful melody. 
I Know What You Know
This one has a bit more quirk in its rhythmic structure than the previous cuts, lending a different edge here. This is probably a bit more jazzy than some of the other stuff on show here, too. The piano and sax both put in some nice solos here.
Danger Danger Almost Over
Choir like sounds provided by the keys start this. Then it jumps into a more hard rocking prog jam - just when the disc was really ready for a change of pace. This one is energetic and rather cool, dominated by the guitar, although keys manage to throw in quite a few solo elements. The ending segments of this one are rather Yesish
Peace of Mind
The title track starts with just keys pounding in a pretty melody. This one stays in this pretty sedate mode, with other instruments joining, but never becoming over powering. It is the prettiest piece of music on the whole disc, and might well be my favorite here. They don't really wander far, but instead just rework the musical themes in very satisfying ways.
It's Good To Be Home For Christmas
The most pure fusion-like cut on the CD, this one rocks out quite well. It's one of the strongest tracks on show here, and makes for a great album closer. It reminds me a bit of the more melodic of Pat Metheny's work. This is truly a powerhouse, and by itself worth the price of admission. It features some of the most tasty instrumental work.


 
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