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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

David Hayes

Out with the New

Review by Gary Hill

This second disc from Hayes is great. I really enjoyed the first one, but this seems to have a more cohesive and consistent texture. It feels more mature. Considering the strength of the first disc, and the level of improvement between the two, I really look forward to see where Hayes goes next. However, looking at just this set as the present, it’s a great disc. I’d certainly recommend it to just about anyone. While it’s progressive rock in many ways, it’s also very accessible and quite tasty.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
There Is Always Something

Delicate acoustic based sounds open this. It shifts to a melodic, driving motif that has bits of The Beatles along with something akin to Spock’s Beard. It grows out with more layers of sound adding textures and drama to the piece. Around the minute and a half mark there’s a little segment with crunchy guitar. It drops way down for a short movement like the sound that opened it for the closing movement.

This is fusion-like, frantic and a real powerhouse. It is an instrumental and is pretty amazing.
Coming in extremely mellow, this still has a bit of that fusion element as it builds out, but I’m also reminded of early Genesis. As the vocals join it remains sedate and melodic and it really rises gradually. It does get a lot more powerful and full in terms of the arrangement. Yet, there is an almost classical element to it, even when it becomes louder. It drops down to the mellower movement to eventually take it out.
Video Star
There’s a lot more crunch and a harder edge to this. Somehow, I’m reminded a bit of King’s X. This definitely has that twisted pop turned crunchy that is present on a lot of that group’s sounds. There is even a movement that makes me think of Jane’s Addiction. If the whole album were like this, it wouldn’t be progressive rock. That said, that doesn’t make this weak. It’s just different. And, it really rocks.
Lip Reader
Starting intricate and pretty, this works out to more pure progressive rock delivered in a decidedly balladic style. It really feels like it would have belonged in the 1970s. It’s quite a cool musical journey.
This is interesting. There’s a bouncing sort of rhythmic structure that has some funk, some world music and plenty of reggae on it. Still, this feels like a lot of modern progressive rock. That said, there are some Spanish jazz like horns in the mix. As odd as this is (at least in terms of lining up with the rest of the music), it’s one of my favorite pieces here. There’s even some klezmer music in the mix.
The riff that drives this feels like some of the psychedelic based hard rock from the 1960s. This has a modern prog bent to it, though. It’s another killer tune on a disc that shows no signs of getting weak at all.
Gregorian chant styled vocals open this and hold it at first. Then it moves to a classic rock styled ballad sound that is slow and very evocative. It’s quite a pretty piece of music, but feels sad. There are some hints of something like Radiohead perhaps. When it works out to the chorus it takes on Beatles or ELO like stylings in terms of the vocal hook. There is also a great jazz-like melodic guitar solo. The arrangement grows out later with all kinds of killer progressive rock layers added on top of it.
When the Leaves Change
A moody and quite pretty ballad-like number, this is very much in a 1970s progressive rock vein. It’s another great cut that manages to change things once more.
Smoking hot fusion with King Crimson overtones makes up this piece. There’s some killer jamming and at various points different instruments drive it. This instrumental makes a satisfying closer for the set.
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