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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Season Standard

Squeeze Me Ahead of Line

Review by Gary Hill

Part of me loves this album. All of me does on paper. This German group combines RIO with funk, ambient music and other elements into a soundscape that is quite unique. You have to give them a lot of credit for doing something incredible. But I’m not a huge fan of RIO so they often jarring music here is a bit too for me to take at times. The falsetto vocals are a bit weird, too, but you get used to those after a while. There are sections of this album I like a lot and I will bet that people who are more enamored with RIO will love this disc. For me, I don’t think I’ll be spinning it a lot, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes adventurous music with a spirit of experimentation. This will quite probably fill the bill nicely.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
A Seadog Grotesque
Noisy, but very cool keyboards paint a melody here as the disc begins. They hold it in a slow manner for a time. Then the whole band join in an off-kilter fusion jam that’s very cool and the vocals come in over the top of this. As this continues multiple layers of vocals skirt over the top. After a while they take it out into a more directly fusion oriented journey with a hard edge, but this is morphed into something more akin to the earlier element for the next vocals. Then they veer out into some crunchy King Crimson-like jamming. The next shift is to a more open kind of groove for the next vocals and then we get some more tasty fusion leading out from there. It continues to evolve for a time until it shifts into something completely different. It’s a sort of Dream Theater meets Yes kind of jam with multiple vocal layers over the top.
The Water Fellow
The motif here is more stripped down, but it’s no less frantic or fusion-like. The vocals skip and skim across the top of the furious jamming and this gets more involved as they carry on. We get taken into some noisy RIO-like sounds for a while after the vocals exit. Eventually they return to the main song structure to take it out.
12 Inches Nose Makes Disco
Wow – now this is really weird – but also really cool. Picture modern King Crimson merged with Frank Zappa weirdness. Now you’ve got a really good idea of what this seriously odd, but incredibly cool track is like. It moves through a number of varying segments and is one of the highlights of the CD. A little before the halfway mark they seriously shift gears and take us out into funky groove, but then bring the weirdness back amidst this.
Kaira
Frantic and crazed, this feels very much like King Crimson, but the falsetto vocals bring a whole other layer to it. We even get some hints of hip hop before they drop it way down to fusion-like territory with ambient moods. They take us back out into the earlier segment after a while. This gives way later to a weird sort of spacey section. That eventually ends it. 
Makkk
Crimson like jamming starts this and then they bring in an almost R & B kind of section. This is worked through in a series of odd alterations and changes. It gets quite jazzy for a time and then works out into almost space rock elements later. They bring it down for the next set of vocals and then move out into yet a different type of space jam. It eventually makes its way down to strange ambience as it carries forward. Then they fire back out into hard-edged fusion meets Crimson jamming. This resolves into some of the most accessible music of the whole disc. 
Xylan
Take Kraftwerk. Add tribal drumming. Then bring some King Crimson to the table. Fasten yourself in for the ride because here we go. I can hear a lot of Birdsongs of the Mesozoic on this and I really like the little bit that sounds like a frog croaking. In another odd juxtaposition we get some Beatles-like vocals later. Then they drop it down to a more straightforward jazz jam for a while. 
Tisa
The first section of this is basically a straightforward, if a bit odd, jazz journey. They take it out to Crimsonian weirdness mid-track, though. When it comes back to the song proper there is at first a bit of oddity, but then a more energized approach.
The Sheep Sheep
For my money this is the most successful cut on the whole disc. It combines a cool pop rock groove with Crimsonian jamming. It wanders here and there as it carries forward but still manages to be catchy. There’s some seriously crunchy music at times on this, too. A short backwards tracked section closes this. 
Super Push
The keyboard sound that starts this reminds me of the one that began the album. Bass joins and we’re off on a cool musical exploration. They keep it fairly understated for a time, but then fire out into another killer prog meets fusion sort of jam. A good chunk of this is accessible and in this sort of vein, but they move it out into noisier forms of weirdness here and there along this ride.
 
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