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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Kitchens of Distinction

Folly

Review by Gary Hill

I remember listening to and liking this band when they were around the first time. Then they sort of faded from my memory until I got my hands on this new disc. It really makes me realize that these guys were either a huge influence on a lot of the modern progressive rock and shoegaze music or (at the very least) they predicted much of it. This album is great. Fans of the band will love it and it is likely to make some new converts, too. It will most likely land in my “best of 2013” list.

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
Oak Tree

Intricate sounds open this and the cut builds gradually from there. The vocals come over the top after a time and we’re well into this ride. As the arrangement gets more lush later the progressive rock sounds really intensify. A shift around the three minute mark takes this into some extremely potent and rather symphonic territory.This is a powerful musical journey. It really shows how much of an influence this band is on modern progressive rock and shoegaze. It’s easy to hear things like Porcupine Tree here and that brings the realization that Kitchens of Distinction have probably influenced a lot of more recent entries into the new progressive rock echelon.

Extravagance
While that same sort of progressive rock and shoegaze sound is present here, this is more tied to 1980s music. I can hear elements of things like The Cure here. That said, though, there are also moments that seem tied to early Genesis. There is some real soaring instrumental work later in the piece. This is another great prog rocker that showcases just how cool and talented Kitchens of Distinction were and are.
Disappeared
With a lot more of that 1980s sound, this is another powerful piece. It’s dramatic and unique, but still showcases the familiar Kitchens of Distinction sound. I love the guitar soloing over the top of this thing.
Photographing Rain
A mellower tune, this is dreamy and quite pretty. It has a lot of cool sound built into it. It’s one of my favorites here, really.
Japan To Jupiter
This lush tune is powerful and runs through some great shifts and changes. The 80s vibe is strong here.
Wolves / Crows
Rocking out at the onset, this feels a bit like a progressive rock meets surf music and symphonic type of number. As this builds later it really gets a lot of layers of sound. There are hints of world music in the mix and this is another great rocker.
No Longer Elastic
This is an amazing tune. It’s symphonic, bombastic and very cool. It’s a creative tune that really does feel very classical in nature. It’s the most ambitious and unusual item here.
I Wish It Would Snow
We’re back into more typical KoD territory here. This is a lush and powerful number with both progressive rock and 1980s pop rock leanings in place. I love some of the guitar soloing that comes over it later.
Tiny Moments, Tiny Omens
Here’s more Kitchens of Distinction magic. It’s not a big change, or unexpected. What it is, though, is an energetic piece of progressive rock with both 1980s sounds and symphonic elements in place.
The Most Beautiful Day
The motif that opens this is rather lackluster. As more layers of sound come over the top (including more layers of vocals) the cut starts to really shine.
 
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