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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Half Past Four

Good Things

Review by Gary Hill

This is cool stuff. It’s always left-of-center, but it’s amazing how mainstream these guys can often make that. It’s clearly not for everyone, but this is adventurous and creative modern progressive rock. The songs are all reasonably short, but most of the time the changes are so fast paced that it covers a lot of territory in that short duration. Everything from classic progressive rock to fusion, metal and more gets represented at different times in the set. If you like your prog with a really diverse and ever changing soundscape, this is for you.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
It Strikes You

A real fusion-oriented sound opens this. As it moves out it makes me think of the band UK, but with a female singer. This is dramatic and very cool. I really like it a lot. They turn it towards metallic territory at times and it includes some cool shifts and changes. It’s amazing to me how much they can pack into a relatively short song.

Good Things
The prog elements that open this make me think of Yes a bit, but perhaps more of Pentwater. This is another cool tune that works quite well. It’s not as dynamic as the opener, but still has changes and shifts. Among the various sections that work in we get some killer keyboard soloing and also some heavier sounds. There is also some rather twisted and crazed fusion.
All Day and All Night
This starts off with a rather mellow and melodic progressive rock jam. That holds quite a bit of the piece with some variation. Still, they take it to a more powered up section that feels part fusion, part metal and all prog. This is another piece that’s powerful and diverse and just plain cool.
Rise
There are definitely parts of this one that make me think of Yes. There is also a killer surf-music tied jam mid-track that’s amongst the most unusual (and coolest) passages here. This is a great piece of music and might be my favorite number here.
Landmines
Another awesome piece of modern progressive rock with some classic in the mix, this just keeps the good stuff coming. There are some hints of that surf music sound at points, but just from the guitar. There are some dreamy, trippy moments of sound here and some of this calls to mind Yes. Other parts make me think of groups like Genesis and King Crimson. The mix of sounds, though, is all Half Past Four.
Cool Water
In some ways this is more accessible than some of the other music here. I will say that a few of the musical progressions work better for me than just about anything else here and this is the first chorus that had me wanting to sing along. I’d definitely consider this to be one of the best tracks here. In some ways it’s more purely modern than anything to this point.
Spin the Girl
This is a short tune at under three minutes in length. It’s also one of the strangest. Furious world music, modern prog and fusion all merge in an extremely quirky (but oddly compelling) jam. It’s got a whirling dervish vibe to it, but that’s appropriate given the title and theme. There is some Russian music in there and also some Klezmer.
Fate
Jazz and quirky progressive rock are merged on this cut. The piano solo section is nice and this is a bit more accessible (despite being left of center) than some of the other music here.
I Am Lion
Swirling modern progressive rock opens this and is featured frequently throughout. There are some guitar parts to this that make me think of Led Zeppelin a bit, though. This is a rather quirky, but also quite intriguing and effective, piece of music. It has some odd twists and turns and yet remains pretty accessible.
Wolf
Bouncy, jazzy and tastefully weird, this is good fun. There are some great jazz moments and a cool, as the band describe at the end “crazy” ending.
Darkness Knew
To some large degree comparisons to Yes are appropriate on a lot of this song. It gets pretty odd at times, though and has a more freeform quirky modern prog element at play for a number of sections. The guitar soloing is particularly melodic and effective.
The Earth
The closing cut is a real powerhouse. It’s another candidate for best song here. It’s harder rocking and more furious than anything else here. There’s also a killer progressive rock instrumental jam with some great keyboard soloing in the middle of it. The vocal arrangement is the most powerful of the whole disc. This is just wonderful and a great way to end the set in style.

 

 
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