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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pelican

City Of Echoes

Review by Larry Toering

City Of Echoes is an instrumental album, but one can still sense this music can be sung. The group sometimes has a singer, so, making melodies that are instrumental but open to vocals, has some importance. That seems to be one of the things Pelican are all about and it helps to define their sound.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bliss In Concrete

This awesome opener establishes the colossal vibes to be felt throughout, as the bass goes to places unheard of. They don't simply jam away, it's all very easy to put words to in its structure, and that's how the non-vocal tracks are composed. I can see them either adding lyrics at the time or later to such tracks, and either finding them suitable or not, but the music is nothing to throw away. I think this defines Pelican's overall approach, and this is a track where that’s easy to detect.

City Of Echoes
For the most part this is mellower than the opening cut, but it does contain some fine outbursts, done with machine gun-like precision. It’s another instrumental that is full of energy and excitement, yet properly repetitive but perfectly performed. Once again the bass is off the charts in places, almost like a lead instrument. It's full of that and glorious power chords to boot. This is one of the more satisfying numbers on the disc.
Spaceship Broken – Parts Needed
This is even more mellow at first, but even more frantic toward the end, than the previous track. To describe the similarities, they're just arranged differently, but pretty much of the same speed and depth in places. So far it's the most interesting number, as the title also suggests. This is very clever indeed, and very well done. The best drumming so far displayed, too, as they really kick in on this tune.
Winds With Hands
This is an acoustic number that is amazing in every way, with its mellow yet intense structure, and very few tempo changes to complicate it. Talk about prog, this is fantastic music, not to be taken lightly.
Dead Between The Walls
This is by far the heaviest number so far, as it's completely different from the rest. The tempo changes do tend to threaten the direction of the tune, but that isn't a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of its welcoming strengths.
Lost In The Headlights
The whole band shines here, but it's full of things to be found on 80 percent of the tracks. This is likely the most repetitive number.
Far From Fields
More of the same is delivered here until three quarters of the way through. Then it kicks up and goes into an anthem of sorts and  winds up as one of the best cuts on the disc. It's hard to put it any other way, as this is an incredible display of what it is Pelican does.
A Delicate Sense Of Balance
This is a nice little number to end the proceedings, as it's on the mellower side and very controlled and subdued compared to the rest of the disc. It’s just what the disc needed to round out some of the fury.
 
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