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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Marsupial

Genus Thylacinus

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve seen these guys listed as prog rock. They definitely have some progressive rock in the mix, but really they are far more of a jam band. I like most of the music here, but I’d have to say that this one group that would benefit from deciding on a more consistent course. They are all over the place. It’s a good disc, but these guys probably have the talent to create a great one.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Lead On
Coming in with a mellow, almost soulful edge on this introduction. This works out to something a bit more like Dire Straits as it continues. There is a crunch edge after a bit that shifts that textural description. The instrumental section later is quite exploratory and includes some expressive guitar soloing. It works back out to a mellower jam from there to continue. I love the guitar soloing that soars over the top of the cut as it marches forward. It eventually makes its way back to the song proper.
The Man Who Knows Things

An acoustic based, balladic like motif starts this off, again feeling much like folk music. The track grows gradually upward from there. There’s a bit of country texture to this and the guitar solo is very much in a southern rock kind of style. It gets built out, but more in a jam band (think Allman Brothers) kind of way rather than in a real prog rock motif.

Naked in the Hall of Seduction

Space rock styled sounds start us off and then they take us into a hard-edged, punk/garage sort of sound. From there it drops down to a rather alternative rock sound – based on acoustic guitar. It grows out from there. We don’t get a lot of prog rock on this until around the three-minute mark – or so (this one weighs in at over nine). Then they give us a cool space rock section that’s got a lot of psychedelia in its midst. Again one can hear some jam band bits. Still, I would put it more like space age Hawkwind meets ambient free form fusion. They work through in a rather jam band like way and eventually give us a short fusion section before returning to the song proper to take it out.

In Between

There’s a bit of prog in the vocal arrangement on this, but I’d really consider it to be much closer to jam band sounds – in fact, I hear a lot of The Grateful Dead in the mix.

The Tide

We definitely get more of that Dead vibe on this, but there are plenty of other things here. At times I hear some real jazz in this one. Other points remind me of early Hawkwind. Then there’s some Allman Brothers – and maybe even some Rush – later in the cut. It’s an intriguing piece and one of the stronger ones on show.

The Goodbye Waltz

This cut is very much in an Allman Brothers sort of sound. There’s some definite country in the mix, too. It’s a good song and builds pretty nicely.

Sucker Punch

Frantic punk rock meets proggy sounds in this smoking instrumental. It’s got some serious fusion in its midst, too. They take it out to metallic hard rock from there. I can hear bits of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and other guitar heroes on this jam.

There Is a Better World
I’m not crazy about this one. I actually like the spacey sort of balladic stylings that remind me a lot of early Pink Floyd. It’s the vocals I can’t take. I certainly would have picked something else to close the disc.
 
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