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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Ohmphrey

Posthaste

Review by Gary Hill

The name comes from combining “Ohm” with part of “Umphrey’s McGee.” Considering that the band is essentially a combo of those two acts, that makes sense. This is a killer album that sits somewhere between jam band music and progressive rock. Frank Zappa and King Crimson are frequent references here, but that’s just sort of a starting point. This is sometimes bizarre, always vital and very interesting. 

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

Track by Track Review
Devil's in the Details

There’s an almost metal vibe to the opening here and that sound continues as it works out. As it moves forward a King Crimson sort of sound emerges. Then it turns a bit funky and feels sort of like Frank Zappa merged with King Crimson in a metallic funk arrangement. They take it through a number of changes and alterations for quite a while. It shifts to some spacey weirdness later, though. Then it eventually becomes a more metallic jam again.

The Sun Also Rises
We get more of that Frank Zappa link here, but there is also a lot of fusion on this piece. There are several changes as this continues, but that hard edged fusion sound is the real driving force behind this composition. Some of the bass playing on this is just plain killer.
Tom Bombadil

This has a definite “song” like structure as it opens, feeling like the most mainstream progressive rock to this point. After the opening section, though, it shifts to more fusion with King Crimson tendencies. There are some awesome guitar sounds and soloing to be heard here, and again the bass really stands out in places. There are sections here that make me think of Rush. It also works out to a more sparsely arranged section before moving into more purely melodic sounds.

The River Runs

Mellower, melodic fusion is the order of business here. While there are some definite changes and alterations (and it turns out to more staccato, hard edged sounds at a couple points) this has a more melodic structure overall than the previous material did. That staccato segment is very King Crimson-like. There is some tasty keyboard work at points on the cut and some killer bass playing, too.

The Shoemaker's Back

Psychedelia merges with fusion early on here. As this grows out from there I can make out hints of something like The Ventures at times. This is certainly more melodic than a lot of the music on the disc. It’s also got a bit of a Joe Satriani or Steve Vai vibe to it. A jam later combines some more metallic elements with fusion. It drops to spacey modes to end.

Ramona's Car Wash

There’s a real classic rock riff that starts this. It gets some funk added to the mix. As the guitar solos overhead this becomes more fusion. It gets pretty incendiary at times. I really love the keyboard solo later in the track. There’s a definite 1970s feeling to a lot of this. We also get a cool section that focuses on the rhythm section and features some inspired accompanied drum soloing. Keyboards solo at the end of that movement, too.

Reggaelic

As the title suggests, there is a lot of reggae in the mix here. It also has plenty of Satriani/Vai like fusion. There is also a cool space rock like jam later in the number. This is one of the more melodic tunes on the disc. Even so, it’s also one of the more dynamic cuts. It has some great classic rock jamming later, too. That section, that serves as the outro, has an almost Allman Brothers gone fusion feeling to it.

Firestarter (Live Version)

Drums lead this off and the band launch out into some killer jamming from there. It’s got some echoey jam band sounds. This is perhaps less composed than the previous numbers. It’s more of a freeform jam. That said, it’s no less compelling or interesting. In fact, this is a great cut. Some of the guitar soloing on this is particularly noteworthy. Later in the piece there’s a classic rock based segment that has a lot of Allman Brothers type music built into it. In fact, that works out to one of the most effective jams of the whole disc.

20/20 (Live Version)

Starting with a dissonant sort of fusion sound, this one works out from there into a more energetic and focused jam. It still has some of that dissonance and feels a bit like Rock In Opposition for a while. They take it towards energized fusion with some space rock overlayers after a while. The rubbery driving bass line on this is awesome, but then again, so is the soloing that goes on over the top of it. There’s a bass solo (with some spacey jamming over top) later that’s just amazing. It works out to more pure space music from there. Then it gets a bit funky as the jam continues to evolve. Then it works out to near chaos after that. A fast paced, guitar dominated jam emerges beyond that point. That segment gets quite powerful as it continues building. It dissolves back down and screams back upwards. It eventually modulates out to a more melodic fusion jam. They just keep shifting and changing this thing. Of course, at almost 20 and one half minutes in length, there’s a lot of room for adaptations. I’d have to say that, while live this might have been awesome, it seems to drag on a bit long for my tastes on the disc.

 
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