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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Barr

Skogsbo is the place

Review by Gary Hill

Perhaps this isn’t the most obvious choice for progressive rock inclusion. Still, groups like the Strawbs are considered prog, and these guys have the same fascination with folk music. Well, I’d have to say even more so. All the music here is played on acoustic instruments. It has an intricacy and less “rock” sound that separates them from the Strawbs. In some ways I’d consider them closer to Renaissance. Whatever you call it, though, this CD is beautiful and rather unusual.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Summerwind
This is a tasty number that has a certain familiarity to some of the musical themes. It’s pretty and potent. The vocal arrangement is awesome.

Words Would Do
They start this off a bit like early Genesis, but as the smooth main song structure takes it over there’s a definite jazz-like element to the music. This is not as involved as the opening piece, but it is perhaps more evocative and powerful.

He Ain't a Friend, He's a Brother
There’s more of a rhythmic element to this track. Otherwise it’s sort of in-between the previous two numbers, but there is also a bit of a Pat Metheny feel to this at times. The instrumental passage that serves as the middle section of the song is powerful and involved.

Calling My Name
Far more gentle this features female vocals. Somehow it reminds me of After the Gold Rush era Neil Young. It’s quite pretty and sedate.  It does get more lush and powerful towards the end as more elements are added to fill out the arrangement.

Skogsbo Is the Place
More intricate than a lot of the other music here, this is a beautiful piece of music. It’s appropriate that it is the title track because it’s one of the most powerful numbers on show here. It might be my favorite track on the disc. The funny thing is, it’s also one of the mellowest ones.  At just over three minutes, it’s also the shortest number.

Moonfall
Flowing gently, this is one of the more sedate moments of the CD. It’s got a great, organic texture to it. There’s an ebb and flow to this. It shifts to a more powered up arrangement later, mostly due to a stirring vocal performance.

Sister Lovers Alone
They close things with the epic of the disc. This one weighs in at almost ten and a half minutes in length. It starts gently and rises with pretty tones. This builds gradually becoming an intriguing and beautiful ride that manages to be both gentle and powerful. It builds to a powerhouse arrangement and then drops way down around the half way point. Sounds of the wild woods are heard along with some speaking. Some backwards tracked music can be made out in the midst of this background of sound. Then they bring in a new melody that rises up gently. Again I think of early Genesis here. As this builds up I somehow hear the Grateful Dead just a bit, but there are plenty of other things to it. It’s a catchy and quite pretty piece of music.

 
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