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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Pacer

Involuntary Movement

Review by Gary Hill

I really had to give a lot of thought to what section of MSJ this review belonged. In honesty, this almost made into the progressive rock section. The music this band makes is almost equal parts alternative rock and progressive, making it a tough call on where to assign it. In the end I decided that the more hard rock leanings were predominate, so they fall into non-prog. It was close enough, though, that prog fans should give this one a serious look. These guys are not far off at all from a lot of neo-prog out there. They just happen to toss in a few more influences from bands like Pearl Jam. Either way; this is a release worth checking out. For more information or to order the CD, stop by the band's official site at http://www.pacermusic.com.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Maximum Security
This feels like a more mainstream Pearl Jam. It's a pretty cool, if quite short, cut.
Persuasion
A more modern alternative rock sound permeates this intriguing cut. It has some prog like segments and some oddly timed percussion.
Convention Break
Another with a rather unusual arrangement (mostly in the rhythmic structure), this one comes in fairly mellow, but then after a verse jumps up to a harder edged chorus that is very powerful. The more sedate verse returns, then a proggy break takes it back to the chorus. This is another winner on a disc that has quite a few.
Face Down
As the vocals start this one it is very angry. After this angst burst, though, the band drops it down to a rather prog like mellower jam for the verse. The more aggressive chorus alternates with the modern prog like segment until they move it out into a full on progressive rock jam that has both modern and retro leanings, feeling a bit psychedelic. This is another strong one.
The Silent Treatment
A much mellower cut, this has a jazzy texture at times. It is a folky prog early on; getting a little heavier as it carries forward before bursting up quite a bit in intensity. They drop it back to the sedate later to continue, though. The arrangement on this is is quite involved and very cool. It is one of my favorite tracks on the disk, and the Pearl Jam leanings (mostly on the vocals) return a bit here.
My Rain
This comes in fast and proggy, then shifts for a short punk rock like segment. Next the band moves it into more standard alternative rock territory, but quickly prog rock changes emerge. This is another highly dynamic, but still coherent track.
Denial
Fast paced punk textures start this, and the cut builds on this moving it more to a frantic jam that almost feels like ska at times. This is off kilter frantic and quite cool. It doesn't have much of the prog leanings, but is still a good track.
 
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