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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Intangibles

I Woke up in the Future

Review by Gary Hill

The music of The Intangibles combines psychedelic sounds with both classic and modern progressive rock and some hard-edged classic rock. It’s a blend that’s both familiar and new. It also works pretty much every time. The only issue one might take with this set is the production, which borders from garage-band level to home studio quality.

In the end, it’s an exciting and entertaining musical adventure. Like most great albums, it’s a journey that includes peaks and valleys, mellower moments and harder rocking ones. It really leaves one wishing the recording technology used were better. Still, that deficit isn’t great enough to keep this from being an exceptional listening experience.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Woke up in the Future

As the album opens with the title track, it pounds out with a psychedelic crunch. The vocals call to mind early Alice Cooper just a bit. In many ways it’s the most straightforward and raw track on show. The production even feels rather rough. It wouldn’t be a big stretch to imagine this number coming out in the late 1960s or early 1970s. There’s a definite garage band vibe to it.

Fortunes Fool

While the production on “Fortunes Fool” seems better, it’s still a bit lacking. The musical elements to the piece have a more dreamy psychedelic texture and it wanders into progressive rock in many ways. The vocal arrangement is quite complex with multiple layers creating an almost Mamas and Papas feeling at times. Violin brings some drama later in the piece.

The Religion Club

The production seems about the same as “The Religion Club” powers into being. It’s a harder rocking tune that calls to mind Hawkwind quite a bit in the earlier section. It works out to more melodic progressive rock mid-track and is another that features a killer vocal arrangement. As the number continues it becomes the most complex piece to this point on the album. There are quite a few changes and alterations and classical strings add drama and class to the proceedings.

Telzy Toy

This opens with a percussion heavy arrangement and builds out in dramatic and intricate waves of sound. The production seems the best of anything to this point. It’s a pretty and reasonably short instrumental that is keyboard-oriented.

If You Can Hear Them Then They Can Hear You
Here is a powered up progressive rock jam with some serious bits of psychedelia thrown into the mix.
Signals

“Signals” feels a bit like some of the psychedelic sounds the Beatles created. The vocals, though, seem closer to solo John Lennon material. The music is more pure progressive rock in a lot of ways, though. It’s a rather complex arrangement with a lot of classical strings. There are bits of space rock in some of the layers that serve as the icing on the cake.

Black Concert Tee Shirt

A killer bass line opens “Black Concert Tee Shirt.” It’s the hardest rocking tune to this point, but still has some of that Beatles-influenced sound. There’s a definite 1970s hard rock texture to the piece.

Tundra

The mellower, but quite expansive instrumental “Tundra” brings more space rock and prog elements to the table. The production seems to have dropped back down a bit, though.      

Next Great Game
“Next Great Game” comes in fairly sedate, but powers out to a jam that’s a bit like psychedelia meeting modern progressive rock and some Rush-like elements. It’s a real screamer. The bass opens “Blessed Innocent” with psychedelic sounds. The cut builds out from there. The production seems the best of the set on the tune. An instrumental, it gets very dramatic near the closing section.       
Watch Over You
This is harder rocking and almost feels like a proggy, psychedelic take on Jane’s Addiction. It’s got a mellower, bluesy jam mid-track that emphasizes the psychedelia. 
Try
“Try” has definite Beatles links in the guitar work. It’s a tasty number that creates both psychedelic and progressive rock sounds in its mix.
All for You

The Lennon-like vocals are back on “All for You,” a cut that really feels like something from the 1970s. There is a definite classic rock element to it and the vocals on the chorus bring in old school rock and roll sounds. It gets quite involved and progressive rock oriented in the later sections.

What I Thought I Saw
“What I Thought I Saw” closes the set. It starts with an almost house music rhythm section. It works out from there in more modern progressive rock directions. As it works through, with a lot of psychedelia in the arrangement, the bass guitar runs intriguing lines of sound all over the backdrop. Symphonic strings add more layers of drama to the piece. 
 
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