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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Septimania

Coachmania! The Coachmen on Holiday in Septimania

Review by Gary Hill

I know, I know, this isn’t progressive rock like Yes or ELP or even Dream Theater. It isn’t far from the sounds of RIO groups like Univers Zero, though. No, we don’t get any fifteen minute epics, but we get tone poems and pieces of weirdness that would fit well with the Rock in Opposition movement.

Track by Track Review
Autumn Heather
The sounds that start this off make us feel like we’re about to launch into some retro rock tune. Instead this becomes a folk meets world music piece that’s a little strange.

Canned Crimson
Only six seconds in length, this is a short bit of tuned percussion that doesn’t feel so tuned.

Estampie Terrible
Fuzz guitar begin this and then a set of lyrics in French are introduced. Odd percussive elements join and we have the basis of this unusual track.

Ball Lightning à la Septimania
This is a twenty seven second bit of sound effects.

Lonely Bookshop Girl
Rock In Opposition has a lot in common with this. A hum is accompanied by fuzz guitar and some sound effects throughout the length.

Down Old Church Lane
This is more melodic and rather pretty, but still pretty random. There are bits of this that seem incongruous.

Drunken Cruelty
More fuzz comes in and is merged with Asian sounds that come and go.

Carnaval de Solos
This is a slow moving, tentative piece that is perhaps more melodic than some of the other music here. It’s based primarily (or possibly entirely) on keyboards. It’s twisted out into something akin to twisted circus music for a short time before leading into the outro.
Bernadette's Vision
Percussion in weird patterns begins this and holds much of the piece. It is joined by some fuzz guitar and all in all I could see this being performed – perhaps a bit differently by King Crimson or Univers Zero. It almost feels like it might launch out into some real rock music later in the piece, but that never happens.

Simon Sez
Only twelve seconds in length we hear something breaking followed by “Oh, dear! Was that valuable?”

Roger Wilco (Into the Stratosphere)
This is a song composed of kazoo, humming and some fuzz guitar.

Ball Lightning Strikes Twice
Here we get a four second burst of what almost sounds like metallic guitar coming upward.

Ballad of Furious Moe Howard
This is just plain weird. Fuzz guitar is merged with a weird little repeating keyboard section and some odd noises – and what can best be described as “Stoogeisms” (look at the title and you’ll figure it out). At close to seven minutes in length this is the CD’s most extensive.

Vespers Raga
Although it is definitely far from straight forward, this is more melodic and pretty than a lot of the other stuff here.

Dino Stomp
We get a weird rock song. This is fuzz guitar and other music over the top. These sounds seem to clash. Then we get a keyboard type solo before the fuzz guitar rises back up.

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