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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

John Galgano

Real Life is Meeting

Review by Gary Hill

Best known for his work in Izz, John Galgano delivers a tasty progressive rock album here. It seems to be a concept album and the whole thing does fit perfectly into that prog rock heading, but there are plenty of variants. I make out everything from Genesis to Yes to The Beatles and jazz on this. It’s quite a cool disc that should please all Izz fans, and fans of modern prog in general, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2012  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Real Life is Meeting, Pt. I

Acoustic guitar patterns are heard as this enters. Then the vocals come in with a great timbre as the whole thing builds out into the song proper. There are some great musical patterns here. It is complex and yet accessible.

Bigger on the Inside

Well, I immediately think of “Doctor Who” when I see that title. More pure progressive rock concepts are heard on this tune. There are more instruments in the mix and more layers of sound. The vocals here remind me of Chris Squire. All in all, this is killer progressive rock tune. Female vocals are heard as this builds out later. Some awesome instrumental work is heard later, with some particularly noteworthy guitar soloing.

Lucky for Me

A folky, acoustic guitar pattern opens this cut and vulnerable female vocals come over the top. The arrangement powers out a bit after the first verse, but it still remains slow and rather folk-like. When it works out into an instrumental section the guitar soloing calls to mind Steve Howe’s work on The Yes Album, but there are elements of the arrangement that are closer to the symphonically charged side of The Beatles. There’s a cool little burst of music that ends this.

This is How it Happens

More gentle, this is pretty and perhaps a bit like Porcupine Tree. There is also some Pink Floyd in the mix and we get some Beatles texture, too. It works out after a time into a more filled out arrangement. Again I hear Chris Squire on the vocals. Marillion and Porcupine Tree are valid reference points on the music. Symphonic bits are heard in the music later.

The Only Thing

This is a huge change. There’s almost a modern R&B texture to this female vocal driven bit. The bass guitar wanders around in the background as weird electronic keyboards create the musical melody. The vocals really drive this piece. Some backwards tracked sounds are added to the mix later. While this is creative and pretty cool, it seems to not fit all that well with the rest of the set. It’s also got sort of a “slapped together” element, particularly as the drums pound away in the backdrop later.

Look Around

Now, this is a great shift. It reminds me a lot of early Yes or Peter Bank’s post Yes band Flash. It’s frantic, hard rocking and quite jazz-like. This is just plain cool. It’s the hardest rocking thing on the disc. It does have a drop back to mellower, dramatic music. This song is another that features a particularly powerful instrumental section as it rises back out to the song proper.

1000

A multi-part epic suite, this is a great piece of music. Both male and female vocals are heard at times on this piece and in some ways much of this makes me think of Genesis. Still, the harder rocking section later is perhaps closer to Yes. All in all, this is another killer progressive rock tune with a lot of layers and variations. There are some particularly dramatic movements here and some of this really does feel a lot like Genesis, particularly the mellow movement later. It works out later into a more energized progressive rock movement. Some killer fusion meets Genesis music is heard later in an instrumental section that comes in after the ten-minute mark. That segment is really quite dramatic as it shifts and builds in fine fashion. After a mellower section it works out to some tuned percussion. Piano rises up as that continues. Multiple vocals work together in the next movement here. Eventually it works out into a different movement and that builds up gradually as this continues. A short piano section with spoken vocal bits ends the piece.

Real Life is Meeting, Pt. II

The musical motif that opened the set returns, starting in full form rather than the stripped down version that began the album to serve as a great bookend. Some great multiple layered vocals along with some jazzy keyboard sounds take the piece for a while. Then it drops off abruptly and grows up gradually with a guitar bit that makes me think of “Baba O’Riley” for some reason. Eventually it builds back out to a rocking jam that’s quite tasty.

Unlisted Track

There’s a song that follows the last listed piece. It’s an acapella number, but the vocals are a bit processed at times – not in an autotune way, but there is something going on there.

 
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