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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Cailyn/Dani

True Lies and Other Fairy Tales

Review by Gary Hill

They brought it on themselves. By billing this CD as progressive rock Cailyn/Dani (Cailyn Lloyd and Dani Daly) set themselves up to have it judged in that light. Do I consider this album to be prog? Barely. Enough so that, combined with their listing it as such I’ll include it in that section. Truth be told, though, this is a pretty cool album. The production on the vocals is the main thing that holds it back as often times they just feel flat (production wise, not in terms of notes) and in need of some power. The disc is mostly covers and the covers are quite cool and creative for the most part. I look forward to hearing more from this duo as this is a good start that shows promise.

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
Heartland

Rather ominous music with the sounds of a storm open this track. It works out more of a mainstream rocking mode from there.  I love the powered up bits. They really rock nicely. They are the proggiest parts of the song, too. The instrumental section is full on prog rock, too.

Still--You Turn Me On
Here’s a cover of the song from Emerson Lake and Palmer.  This is definitely less prog rock than the original version. That said, it’s more pure prog than the disc’s opener. It’s a pretty and powerful rendition of a song that’s pretty and powerful to begin with. While I definitely prefer the original, there are some moments here that bring some new musical insights and thrills to the cut.
Lady Kicks Ax
This hard rocker is a little bit metal and a little bit southern rock. It’s a good tune, but worlds away from prog rock. There are a few hard rock musical quotes in the midst of this number. 
Portrait (He Knew)
Now it’s Kansas territory for the cover material. This is a good rendition, but much of the recording quality here feels very amateur. The vocal production is flat and weak and some of the keyboard sounds and a little cheesy. Still, this is a strong rocker no matter who does it. It’s one of the proggier cuts on show here, too – although it’s turned a bit more towards guitar hero arena rock in this telling. There is a killer fusion-like segment pasted at the end of this. The only problem with that is that it’s too short. 
Heading West
While this is overall a hard rocking tune, there are some definite proggy moments. This is actually quite a strong song, but it’s one that could definitely benefit from better production on the vocals. 
Dream On
Aerosmith is the chosen cover song territory this time around. I’ve always loved this song. Is this version a carbon copy of the original? No, not by a long shot. Is it progressive rock? It’s a lot more prog than the original, and despite being and Aerosmith track that had a lot of prog in it. For my money this is an incredibly strong rendition that takes a lot of liberties with the source material – and it pays off. This might well be the best cut on show here and doesn’t seem to suffer much from the poor vocal production. 
Wind Cries Mary
Let’s have a look at Jimi Hendrix music now – or should I say “a listen?” This is perhaps the most bold attempt and reworking a classic. The cut has most of the guitar stripped from it – except in the instrumental sections and guitar solo moments. Instead it’s served up as one of the most purely progressive rock jams on the set. I like this one a lot. It’s another standout and again the production is better than on the bulk of the CD. 
Can't Find My Way
Here they turn their attention to the Blind Faith classic. This has always been another song that’s had a special place in my musical heart. I wouldn’t stack this rendition up against the original – it just doesn’t make it. That said, it’s still quite good and does try to be somewhat unique. I’m not sure how progressive rock it is, but it is a strong piece of music. 
Road Not Taken
They close the set with another original. The intro and outro are rather proggy and in many ways this is one of the more pure progressive rock pieces here. Still, it rocks out pretty well, too. I wouldn’t consider this to be a top of the barrel number, but it’s certainly in the upper half.
 
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