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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Vinyl Soup

Chasing Yesterday

Review by Gary Hill

Vinyl Soup is another of a growing list of bands that incorporate jam band stylings into their music, but the influences definitely don't stop there. While the overall texture is prog (leaning at various times of Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Frank Zappa), they also manage to show their interest in funk, jazz, The Grateful Dead and even Caribbean sounds. The end result is a CD of music that is very intriguing. Not all of this blew me away, but there is definitely enough strong material here to make it worth checking out.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2005 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Mr. Jello
This comes in in a very bouncy jam Dead style with a tasty guitar solo coming over top shortly. The first verse runs through, then this shifts to an off kilter jazz like jam to carry forward. The familiar melody returns for the next verse and the chorus brings a faster tempo and a killer vocal arrangement. They shift this into a frantic and somewhat chaotic fusion like prog excursion. Then they eventually drop it back to the original segment to end - and all in less than three minutes.
Cool Jaded Jane
This is a bluesy Dead-like jam as it enters. It bounces along through its verse/chorus structure. This one doesn't wander far from its roots remaining more in the Grateful Dead mode than prog, but the group includes some killer solos on this one.
Lightfuse
Jazz chords start this and the kyes come over top to complete the open form jazz texture. Eventually a bouncy guitar line enters to move this one forward. Retro keys come over this and the group launches into a retro Niacin-like prog jam. Then fusionish guitar fury takes it in a new direction, at times feeling a bit like The Dregs. This exploration is quite a cool instrumental.
Front Door
This one has a quick paced, nearly funky prog type take on a jam band texture with Zappaish vocals. It is especially potent. It drops to a short piano based segment, then fury comes in to join it, but the piano regains control. Then a new progressive rock ballad section takes it for a time until they jump back in with a furious jazzy bluesy instrumental section that moves it through to the next super-fast paced vocal section. This is a killer cut.
Fog
This is more pure Deadlike jamming, dropping to a balladic style for the verses. The chorus feels like Zappa meets the Dead. This is bouncy, fun and quite bluesy. Although it turns rather funky later, the only real prog like influences here come in the form of a short Eastern-tinged jam that's faded down to serve as the outro.
In And Out of Touch
Jazzy modes meet Pink Floydian textures to bring this one in. It is an extremely powerful and evocative excursion that drops to spacey weirdness. Then an exceptionally Floyd like mode takes it, moving it forward. As this drops back keyboard elements dominate. Then a new Deadlike section takes over from there.
Bugs in the Vent
Another that comes in jazzy, this one builds slowly in jam band like prog ways. The vocals here feel closest to Zappa meets Dire Straits. This is a prog rock jazzy groove that's quite cool. It drops to a Police like bass line then quick bursts of RIO like jazz based prog takes it. This gives way to a new prog jam, then runs into a frantically paced, almost ELP like segment. The band eventually works this through to the verse chorus that lead to here. Then weird ambient Pink Floyd / early King Crimson type textures take over for a time to end it.
Nozer Hozer
More funky jam band prog takes on Zappa like textures make this one up. It drops to a half time segment that is incredibly Zappa oriented, then a new movement comes out of there, melodic and jazzy, but still possessing Zappa based weirdness. It moves back to the original modes to end.
Wind
More tentative tones start this, then it shifts to a slower, mellow track that feels like Pink Floyd meets the Dead for the song proper. This becomes a very jazz oriented sedate excursion at times. It drops to ambience later and gradually builds 'til it explodes into a jam with killer neo-prog textures that carries it into the next vocal section. This gives way to more killer instrumental interplay and a fade out.
Sometimes You Get A Curve
More dead like jamming creates the texture of the beginning of this one. It shifts to a weird prog rock exploration, a bit KCish. As it intensifies, that KC like texture is all over it. The band jumps into a short RIO like progression then a new vocal section with Grateful Deadish structures. They move this into another jazzy blues section, and then that eventually turns more towards King Crimson territory and gets very intense. This shifts gear to a killer bass solo. The Dead-like vocal segment returns to carry the cut through to the outro.
Feel The Sun
A pretty acoustic guitar based ballad, this doesn't move far, but is a nice change up.
Chasing Yesterday
Funky textures emerge to create the backdrop for this track that feels like a jazzy style mixed with prog, The Grateful Dead and even a bit of Caribbean sounds at points. This turns into an expansive and accessible proggy exploration, then a killer retro organ solo takes it. Guitar comes in to pull it back to the verse section. This gets quite potent and involved. Then it shifts into a full on weird fusion movement. Vocals come over top of this unusual backdrop, too. A more catchy progressive rock ballad segment takes it after to carry this forward. Then a new fusion oriented instrumental mode emerges to carry the piece to its end.
 
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