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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rausch

Rausch

Review by Gary Hill

One has to look no further than the cover of this CD to realize that the keyboards play a big part in the music here. Keys are Doug Rausch’s specialty and he is Rausch. That said, he also brought in a couple of great musicians – including Gary Wehrkamp to handle most of the guitars and all the bass work. The songs are really the key, not just a lot of keyboard solos. The music here has a modern progressive rock edge, but there are plenty of nods in other directions. I’d say the closest comparison is probably Spock’s Beard, but Queen and Pentwater would come up frequently in my descriptions, too. It’s quite a strong disc however you slice it.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
No Fair

Piano starts this off in a very classical manner, but then it pounds out into some hard rock. The vocal section has a playful, rather poppy nature. This reminds me a bit of Spock’s Beard. It shifts towards some Beatles-esque moments later, feeling a bit like Klaatu. We get more Beard-like music later, too. This thing just keeps changing. They wander into classically oriented sounds at times and then into jazz at others. I hear a lot of Queen in this, too.  It’s an intriguing and complex piece of music.

Bipolar
Overall, the mix here isn’t all that different. That said, this is an extremely powerful piece of music that exceeds the levels of the opener.
It Happens
A rather playful number, there’s a lot of modern rock in this mix. That said, I also hear a good deal of Spock’s Beard and Queen here, and even some hints of Pentwater and Sweet. There’s a cool instrumental break with some interesting piano runs and Trevor Rabin-like guitar soloing. 
B.P.M.S.
This is a little weird. It starts with a balladic motif. The vocals are tongue in cheek and biting criticism. A lot of them are spoken, but I should mention that the anagram presented here as the title definitely warrants a parental advisory, as do some of the other lyrics. Let’s suffice it to say that the chorus rhymes with “Witch and Kiss and Tone and Stream.” The cut shifts to more prog rock sounds later, but this is a little odd. I hear Spock’s Beard again on this.
Ode To Pain
A slow moving, balladic piece, this is another strange one, at least in terms of the lyrics. This remains mellow throughout, feeling like a jazzy guitar prog number. 
The Pros & Cons of Linear
More typical of the earlier pieces, this is quite a dramatic progressive rock workout. I can hear both Spock’s Beard and Pentwater in the mix here. There is some cool Brian May type guitar soloing on this. It’s another cool cut. 
Minimalism
This reminds me a bit of some of the more playful side of White Witch. There’s some Jellyfish in the mix, too. I’m not sure this track is progressive rock, but it’s cool. It’s also fun. 
Survival Instincts
There’s an ‘80’s sort of texture on the vocals that start this. The cut moves to more eccentric prog sounds and then shifts out to harder rocking elements with some serious drama built into them. It drops to a very sedate, textural, section later. They take it through a number of shifts and changes from there. This is an extremely dynamic piece of music. It pounds out pretty heavy at times and there are bits of Eastern modes built into it at times. 
Slow Suite: I. Grey?
Piano starts this in a very classical way and the vocals enter after this introduction, with it remaining just piano and singing in a balladic fashion. This reminds me of a more proggy Elton John. It never rises up from ballad fashion and no other instruments are added, but this is quite an effective piece of music and makes for a great closer.
 
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