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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Geoffrey Downes

New Dance Orchestra – Electronica

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing set. Perhaps it’s not so much progressive rock, but there is a lot of prog in the mix. Add in the fact that Geoffrey Downes is a prog musician and that lands it under that heading at Music Street Journal. There is really a great sound to this. It’s got electronic music, progressive rock, soulful vocals and much more built into it. It might not be the easiest sell to prog purists, but it’s really quite an entertaining disc to put into the player and just enjoy.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Shine On

There is a killer electronic groove to this thing. Female vocals lay down melodic elements. It’s got some great musical layers and sounds. It’s almost like Enigma meets Curved Air in some ways.

Forgiven
Although this is a little less energized, it’s no less interesting. In fact, I’d say that the melodies and vibe to this one are superior to the opener. Given the strength of that one, it says a lot. This is pretty and compelling.
Movin' On
There’s more of a rock element to this, but the electronic music concept is well-preserved. I love the vocal melodies here and some of the keyboard fills on the tune are also especially noteworthy. This is a cool tune on a disc that’s full of them.
Rainbow's End
This is a lot more in line with something like The Carpenters, but with more of an electronic sound in place. It’s a nice change and a really satisfying tune.
Breaking the Spell
I love the energetic groove to this piece. It’s bouncy, fun and very tasty.
Love Is Not Enough
While not a big change here, this is another great tune.
Jinx
There is a real soulful groove here in a lot of ways. It’s still set in the same electronic music overall, but it definitely feels different. It’s one of my favorites on the disc.
Hanging by a Thread
There is more of an almost rock intensity to this piece. It’s got a rather symphonic element in the arrangement, too. Beyond that, it’s not a huge change. It’s one of the highlights of the set, though.
Remember the Day
For me the vocal arrangement on this really makes it stand out as one of the best. That said, there are some killer keyboard melodies, too. Although not a huge change, this is one of the best cuts here.
Dance to the Music of Time
I definitely think that this is another song where Enigma would be a fair comparison. It’s got some great melody and a lot of energy.
Walking Through the Fire
There is a lot of magic and power in this number. It’s got one of the strongest vocal arrangements of the set and yet the driving music fits nicely. It’s another that lands as a contender for the best tune here.
Golden Days

A mellower tune this is good, but a bit of a let-down from the last number. Still, it’s on par with the rest of the set, meaning it’s a good piece of music.

 
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