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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Riverside

Voices In My Head

Review by Josh Turner

When I first heard this album, many of the Progressive P's came to mind. This would include Porcupine Tree, Pineapple Thief, Paatos, Pain of Salvation, and of course, Pink Floyd. It borrows elements from each of these progressive powerhouses. Rather than grovel for their second-hand remnants, in some ways, it's the collective sum of each of these band's most refined moments. It's never dull nor is it ever dimwitted. However, it has a veracious appetite without suffering from any sort of gluttony or bloat. It's easy to see where Riverside's understated enthusiasm and gusto originated.

This release comes on the coattails of another fine album, called Second Life Syndrome. If you're wondering how they scrounged up this material so fast, it's not that this is recycled, used, or thrown together. To the contrary, like RPWL's Stock, these items are virtually like new. There is a logical explanation for their pristine condition. The core of its contents comes from an earlier EP that's currently out of circulation. Now it's not that they are just trying to cash in on newfound acclaim or take advantage of the latest fad or craze. In reality, they've taken quite the opposite position. It might be an unexpected jolt to hear this, but the material is exceptional. For this reason, it justifies a second stab at the buyer's market. To make it even more lucrative, it contains several live concoctions, which are untouched, fresh, and ready to go. Plus, it holds an enhanced section featuring photos, lyrics to all their albums, and the centerpiece, a video. Honestly, it's an impressive applet with a well-designed menu and some outstanding content. One problem is that it might not be obvious at first on how to exit. The only other issue is with the lyric's module, which is difficult to navigate and hard to stop from scrolling. Despite this paltry drawback, even that part too is visually stunning. All this aside, I've come across offerings such as these in the past, but the results found here might actually be the finest.

When InsideOut takes a ship that's lost in space and puts it back in orbit, you can be certain it is for good reason. Never have I seen anything in sorry shape re-released from their base. Consistent with their track record, this one keeps the winning streak alive. If you're a fan of Riverside's latest works or you're looking for more gloomy-doomy goodies, turn over a new leaf and check out the corresponding page from this record label. Looking over the entire lot, these all go together like peas in a pod. Even though it's not officially new and it has already been around the block, it's still quite the cohesive package. Do yourself a favor and give this material your own privileged inspection and personal check up. To unveil this buried booty, all you have to do is remove your bookmark and reseat it on Progressive Rock's less congested sheet or in layman's terms, where the catalog lists the R's.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Us
The pulsating sample from the synthesizer almost sounds like a knock on the door. After it's opened and entry is allowed, it reverberates and echoes with a surge of passion. This paraphernalia is posh while the accouterments are lavish. Its designer embraced the architecture of Steven Wilson and modeled it in concordance with Porcupine Tree's swankiest sequence. This antique is maintained at the proper temperature and moisture. The quality of the air that surrounds it is also extremely sterile. It's a great place to start the estimate for this esteemed collection.
Acronym Love
This is the track that's also featured in the embedded digital fortress. In my humble opinion, it's not the best song on the album, but suffice it to say, it's sufficient. What's more, it might have the most commercial appeal since it embodies aspects of the popular and critically-acclaimed Coldplay. This cut gnaws like molars and grinds like incisors. It's blunt, but it does the trick when it comes to chomping up the chewy chow and the salient solids. The guitar solo in particular provides a big bite of melodic bliss. Due to its intentions, it's adequate enough for the video replay. The cool stream that runs through its crevices presents misty crisp refreshment. It loosens up and unwinds as it frees itself from the isolated habitation and overcast. Likewise, it was wise to capture it on film as they did, and then immediately return it to the wild.
Dna ts. Rednum or F. Raf
Unfortunately, the music and the lyrics don't explain the gobbledygook in its moniker. You'd probably have to go to the artists themselves for an authoritative answer. What I can tell you is that this song maintains the atmospheric and symphonic slant. It does so with eerie annotations from Opeth, Tool, and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. 
The Time I Was Daydreaming
They have their own take on a proven formula. In each case, they waver between the aforementioned influences ever so slightly. It would be easy to compare any of the pieces to Porcupine Tree, including this one, though in this case it might be closer to Pineapple Thief in its arrangements, harmony, and phrasings.
Stuck Between
This is kind of like that silly commercial where the girl uses freakish hand gestures to do a sort of comical dance in the car. That would also be the one Dave Chappelle hilariously parodied in a skit on his show. Yet, this is more of a song and less of a joke or a marketing gimmick. If the last song reminisced about a daydream, this is more than just the contemplation. It will make the flesh in your ears experience reverie and rejuvenation. It's a fitting remedy to irritation, stress, or fatigue. It's too depressed to be Depeche Mode and disconsolate enough to disqualify it from the ranks of New Order. However, with its programmed drums, eighties beat, and modern lush landscapes it does retreat back to the time of the Romantic Movement. As if they are the deranged progeny of Danny Devito, they resonate like real Renaissance Men. Additionally, the music vibrates with the vibrato of "Mr. Roboto." 
I Believe (Live)
Several seconds give us pause before entering into the alternate part of the album. To increase the stuffing by thirty percent, starting here, we are flogged with three live licks. The first in the bunch is the best track on the album. It's hypnotic when he chants, "Everything!" over and over again. In his slack sales pitch, he does for that, what Sting does in concert for "Roxanne." The singing is quite refined for something that comes to us in real-time. There appears to be a trivial amount of tweaking done back in the studio. With little to no tampering, it comes off without any hampering or a hitch. As I avowed, this is my favorite track on the album and one that would bring me back in the future to this disc.  
Loose Heart (Live)
This continues the trend, showing us a band that really excels in person. The pianos above all are exquisite. Aside from the angry vocalizations in the end, this composition is similar to the palatable produce typically picked from U2's Joshua Tree.
Out of Myself (Live)
The basis of these songs comes from the album Out of Myself, making this the title track of "that" album. Like the lingo previously encountered, there's a chant that's repeatedly recited. In this song, it's the title of "this" album that's used to provide the verbiage. By the way, this fact alone should clarify the correlation. At first the verse initiates the song without any instruments to back it. You can hear the crowd coalesce and help to amplify the inertia. Then the music rushes towards its prey with a rabid desire and a hungry glint in eyes. It's a little faster than the others and maybe a bit more Neanderthal in its mind-set. While it's ravenous and primeval in its approach, the keyboards clear away the cobwebs, giving the song a spit of common sense and its only sober thoughts. If the other pieces are responsible for providing the rope, this one surely ties the knot.
 
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