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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Secret Saucer

Second Sighting

Review by Gary Hill

Every Secret Saucer CD is based in space rock, and that, of course, begs comparisons to Hawkwind. Well, in some ways this might be the most Hawkwind-like album of their entire catalog to date. It’s also quite a strong set, but then again, all their discs are strong.

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
Liftoff

A pounding, droning, keyboard heavy sound opens the disc up and from there it continues outward. Guitar brings some crunch to the table and this really takes on a Hawkwind-like sound in a lot of ways. This is classic space rock. Guitar soloing soars overhead later, but so do keyboards. This instrumental is just plain awesome and has some distinctly Hawkwind-oriented sections. It turns a little metallic later, too.

All the Way to Outer Space

This one comes in with more of a rock and roll element, but the space sounds are still heard over the top of the mix. It does work into more typical space rock after a while. It’s another cool instrumental.

D-Walker

Space keyboards are heard on the opening of this piece. Those keyboards hold the piece for quite a while, but it eventually modulates out into a more full arrangement as the jam continues. This tune has some great instrumental work and I really love some of the retro keyboard sounds.

Tranquility Base

While this still has all the space rock trademarks laid over the top of it, the rhythm section really drives this thing in a lot of ways. It’s a smooth journey that’s very cool.

Venture 90-200

Here we have a complex and powerful jam that runs through a lot of musical territory. It has some of my favorite melodies of the whole album.

Untitled Dream

There is some great echoey music here and some killer keyboard sounds that are very retro. This seems to combine early Pink Floyd with something more like Hawkwind into a musical tapestry that’s great.

Disintegrator

This is powered up and rocking like crazy. It’s very much in keeping with a Hawkwind like sound. At points this seems to move towards fusion. All in all, it’s a great piece of music. Some of the bass playing here is among the best of the whole disc. Some of the spacier jamming later is also particularly noteworthy.

Integrator

Coming out of the previous number, this is mellow and quite pretty. As it continues there is some seriously wonderful piano work soloing all over the place. In a lot of ways this is closer to a more traditional progressive rock sound than it is to pure space rock. Still, there’s enough space rock here to keep it in that genre.

Reflections

Keyboards start this in mellow ways and it grows out from there with the bass line churning away as Middle Eastern guitar tones play over the top.

The Death of Time

The space sound here that seems like a meteor streaking across the sky is very Hawkwind-like. The melodies that emerge, though, have a more rock and roll meets mainstream progressive rock element to them and even some hints of heavy metal. This works through quite a few changes and really rocks out at times.

Night Sky

Keyboards dominate this fairly mellow and melodic space rock tune. This is another piece with great piano and other keyboards also create killer sounds. There’s a sound line that dances across the soundscape that seems almost like guitar, but quite probably is keyboards. Whatever it is, it moves slowly, but decisively, creating some great melodic sounds.

 
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