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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Fox Pass

Intemporel

Review by Gary Hill

It would be easy to believe that this is a disc of covers by a classic rock cover band. The truth is, though, this is original music. These guys just write songs that feel like classics you might have heard decades ago. The classic rock vibe runs the gamut in terms of musical styles, but everything feels like it fits. This is a band that would have been huge in the 1970s. There aren’t any weak tracks here, but some things are stronger than others. Anyone who has a strong taste for the mainstream pop rock of the 1970s should really dig this.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Hurry Cherie

This is very much a classic rock pop cut. It’s sort of part Beatles and part garage band. It’s fun. It’s got a tasty and tasteful classic rock guitar solo.

Fly Away (From Me)

The music on this makes me think of The Hollies, but the vocals are closer to early Rolling Stones. However you slice it, though, it’s another tasty slab of poppy classic rock. The guitar solo on the fade out brings in a bit of a Byrds vibe.

Front Page Girl

This occupies the common ground between old school hard edged pop rock and punk rock. There’s some tasty riff driven music and a fun vocal arrangement.

Cool Dreamer

A more balladic cut, somehow this makes me think of Tom Petty a bit. It’s got a lot of classic rock built into it and it’s tasty. There’s a fairly psychedelic movement later in the piece that feels a bit like the psychedelia period of the Rolling Stones. When it comes back out to the guitar solo segment it’s pure classic rock. There’s another killer guitar solo near the end of the piece. That one is both quite extended and very soaring.

She Dreams of Me

The intro on this calls to mind vintage David Bowie. It drops out to a more mainstream balladic piece, but there are still some minor hints of Bowie. In a lot of ways this calls to mind something from Roy Orbison, but with different vocals. It’s got a very old school classic rock sound. It does climb up beyond the balladic in terms of arrangement later, but that vibe continues throughout.

The Spark

Combine a Byrds like jingle jangle with vintage Stones and some Tom Petty and you’ll come pretty close to this piece. It’s bouncy and fun and at times makes me think of “19th Nervous Breakdown.”

It’s Rock

Percussion leads this off and the killer guitar riff that opens this feels like something you’d expect from Keith Richards. It’s a killer rock song that feels a bit like a punky Rolling Stones. This is catchy and cool.  You might even hear hints of the Romantics on this.

Hey Rainbow

Combine The Rolling Stones with Tom Petty and you’ll have a good idea of what this ballad sounds like.

High On You

This is a bit less obvious in terms of specific references. Overall it’s a great classic rock tune. It’s sort of a combination of a ballad and a rocker. It still feels like it fits in the 1970s, but without any definite comparisons to be made.

Amtrak
There’s still some Stones on this, but the cut is very nearly punk rock. It’s a smoking hot rocker that’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely the most raw tune we’ve heard.
Song 91

Combining the Byrds with The Stones and a more raw roots rock approach, this is tasty, but perhaps not at the same level of some of the other music. There’s a cool mellow motif that ends the track.

The Sacred Mountain Is Falling

At nearly nine and a half minutes in length, this is, by far, the longest cut on show here. It starts off with a mellow psychedelic motif that has a bit of a folk element to it. It grows gradually from there, turning to real space for a time. It’s about two minutes in before the cut moves out to the song proper. It still retains some of the folk and psychedelia, and the vocals again make me think of the psychedelic period of the Stones. This grows gradually and very slowly, but it certainly grows. It maintains its general musical roots throughout, just sort of intensifying. Although, it comes close to the realms of progressive rock at times, particularly when it drops back to a mellower reprise later for an extended instrumental movement.

Ticking of the Clock

Here’s another piece of modern and new classic rock. It’s a balladic tune and it’s quite cool, but kind of pales in comparison to the previous masterpiece.

Younger Than We Knew

The intro to this calls to mind some of the earliest music from Alice Cooper (the band). As it works out to the song proper, it’s perhaps along the lines of The Yardbirds, mixed with a more modern sound. The vocal arrangement on this is particularly cool. This is actually one of the strongest pieces on show and really works well.

We Will Be Free

Another cut that combines the balladic with the harder rocking, this is yet another killer classic rock sounding number. It’s actually quite strong, but doesn’t stand up to a lot of the other material. That’s more about how strong the rest of this is, than it is about any weakness in this piece.

One More Song

In many ways the sounds on this cut are more modern than anything else on the set. That doesn’t mean that all the classic rock stylings are gone, but the mix is just more on a modern end. It’s a catchy and rather intricately arranged piece that’s quite cool.

A Long Goodbye

At about six and a half minutes in length, this is the third longest piece on show. It’s an involved classic rock ballad that really calls to mind the Rolling Stones while wander precariously close to the progressive rock border.

 
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