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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

The Waterboys

Appointment with Mr. Yeats

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve certainly heard of this group over the years, but I don’t think I’ve actually heard them before. After this awesome album, I’ll be checking out more from this outfit. The concept here is the words of W.B. Yeats set to music. The music is along the lines of folk, rock and more. I’d definitely land it under progressive rock, but I could see why some might disagree. Frankly, though, I’d consider this more prog than a lot of other music that people consider progressive rock. However you slice it, though, this is an exceptional release.

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

Track by Track Review
The Hosting of the Shee

Coming in very gradually, this has a symphonic progressive rock meets space rock vibe as it builds out. The vocals add to that progressive rock element. This is a very powerful song that has a lot of classic symphonic prog and more modern sounds like Porcupine Tree both built into it. It’s accessible and yet meaty. It’s a great way to start the set in style. A cool melodic guitar solo climbs up near the end and takes the piece to its abrupt close.

Song of Wandering Aengus
Retro keyboard sounds start this off and the vocals come over the top. This reminds me a lot of Procol Harum as it continues in this slow prog ballad style. As the whole arrangement fills out and gets intensified, it really still feels very much like the kind of thing Procol Harum would do.
News for the Delphic Oracle
Mellow and organic, but also quite theatrical, this again makes me think of Procol Harum again. Mind you, it’s a different side of that band that’s called to mind. It gets turned to a more powered up Celtic type piece before shifting to more pure theatrical music. That said, it still makes me think of some of the more theatrical stuff from Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
A Full Moon in March
A much harder rocking song, this is a fairly short one. It’s got some retro keyboard sounds and is a cool number.
Sweet Dancer
There’s a pop music vibe here with some definite symphonic elements on display. Celtic elements are heard at times here. The female vocals reinforce that Celtic reference. Some of the vocals on this almost make me think of Bob Dylan, others of the Kinks.
White Birds
Celtic music, folk prog and much more blends on this cool tune. It’s energetic and organic. Bob Dylan comes to mind here a bit, too. I like this song a lot.
The Lake Isle of Innisfree
The main song structure here is a basic blues jam. The thing is, there are enough progressive rock sounds built onto the top of it to make it both very proggy and exceptional. I love this jam.
Mad as the Mist and Snow
Taking that same kind of proggy treatment, this time instead of a bluesy tune, this feels more like something from Led Zeppelin, but with that prog twist to it. There are some full on Celtic elements that emerge through the pipes that play. It powers out after that interlude to some energized rock that’s very tasty. The pipes solo later as the jam kicks out to sort of a psychedelic prog jam with Celtic and space rock both in the mix.
Before the World Was Made
Space rock, psychedelic and folk are all put together here. This is dreamy and quite cool. It’s organic and yet electronic. The combination of male and female vocals works really well.
September 1913
This is more of a straight ahead rocker, but there are still prog elements and symphonic ones here. This is a folk rock tune and a great one at that.
An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
Celtic rock is the order of business here. There is a folkiness to this that works well and the whole cut is just very effective.
That folk rock vibe is also on display here. There is a real world music feeling to this. The feeling of 1960s pop rock is also heard. This is another strong tune. It gets very powerful later.
Let the Earth Bear Witness
I love this song. The powerful vocal line really sells this, but the musical arrangement contributes to the emotion and power of this, too. This is a balladic cut with that folk prog element at play. It’s also one of the best tunes here.
The Faery's Last Song
Another organic folk meets progressive rock tune, this moves in a fairly straightforward line. Then it drops way down to pretty space music with non-lyrical female vocals creating lovely melodies. This is a great way to end a great album.


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