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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

3rd Ear Experience

Boi

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite a cool set. It’s definitely heavy. It’s sort of a cross between psychedelic and space rock overall, but there are plenty of other things here. This is a diverse set that always manages to entertain. I like it a lot.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Space Tripping

Sound bites from an Apollo mission starts this. Then it echoes and gets distant before ending. The band power in with a rather metallic jam that’s got lots of space rock in the mix. This feels sort of like heavy metal meets psychedelia and Hawkwind. There is some killer jamming later in the track. There’s a bit of boisterous sound after that, with more of those sound bites. Then the drums take the lead as a new space jam ensues. It gets pretty intense as that continues and I love the retro organ sounds here and there. When that organ dominates, it brings comparisons to Deep Purple. Of course, given the title of this song that’s appropriate. It eventually dissolves to more pure space to end.

The Ocean
A mellower melodic sound, like some 1970s rock, opens this tune. The vocals reinforce that concept. Musically this seems tied to Pink Floyd, just a bit, but the vocals aren’t really in line with that. There is still some space rock in this and it does get heavy, but it’s almost like a power ballad from Vanilla Fudge, if that makes sense. It’s a pretty straightforward journey, but it has peaks and valleys. It gets quite intense at times.
Boi
The title track comes in even mellower than the previous cut. It’s got a lot of that space rock element, but almost feels a bit like Radiohead, too, as it builds gradually upward. Past the two minute mark it fires out with some seriously harder rocking sounds. I’m reminded of Green Milk from the Planet Orange to some degree. It modulates back down to mellower sounds. A female voice speaks over the top of this backdrop. After this section it turns to more of a straight rock song motif with male vocals. That said, it’s still got plenty of space rock in the mix. The female voice returns to recite more lines. After another sung chorus the piece intensifies into some serious (and literal) screaming. Then it modulates back down to the territory from which that came. Spoken male vocals come across. As the cut continues to evolve it seems to me to exist somewhere between shoegaze, Radiohead and Green Milk from the Planet Orange.
Wheel of Fortune

Furious and heavy, this comes in feeling like metal meets Hawkwind. Psychedelic elements are heard later and there are some hints of middle Eastern scales in this piece. There is some great keyboard jamming later. This is quite a cool space rock tune overall.

Snake Charmer
Bass pounding over the top of some atmosphere opens this. It turns from there into a hard rocking space jam. After carrying through for several minutes with no vocals, waves of spoken vocals are laid over the top, layers upon layers obscuring individual words. As those gradually drop away organ solos over the top. This gets back into the familiar space rock territory as it continues. It’s quite a dramatic and powerful piece.
Swallow
Although this starts mellow, it powers out to a hard edged and high energy jam that seems to combine something like Tool with Hawkwind styled space rock. There are some stripped back, but still rocking, sections later. In some ways this cut is more raw than some of the other stuff on the disc. It’s no less effective, though.
Surrounded
Air raid sirens open this. The riff that starts up from there has a real Black Sabbath vibe. As it starts to grow out from there, it feels a bit like Clutch. Although there’s less space rock here than on some of the other songs, there are still space elements. This is, though, a much more straightforward rocker. The mellower segments have some definite heavy psychedelia, though. At times I’m reminded of early Pink Floyd, but with a harder, heavier, darker edge.
Aurora
Early Pink Floyd is definitely a valid comparison point here. This is a fairly mellow and trippy bit of psychedelia.

 

 
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