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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Richard Tyler Epperson

Hourglass

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite a satisfying release. Overall it lands somewhere in the mellow pop rock style of artists like John Mayer. There is quite a bit of range within that boundary, though. It never feels redundant or tired because it gets mixed up enough to remain fresh.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I Know

Some rather odd keyboard sounds start this. It works out from there to a more mainstream modern pop rock sound. This is a killer, energetic rocker that is very accessible. The bridge almost has a modern progressive rock vibe to it.

Hourglass
Acoustic guitar based, the title track is a bouncy little balladic number that combines folk music and alternative pop. It’s another solid one.
Like Always
This is an amazing piece of music. In a lot of ways, it qualifies as modern progressive rock as far as I’m concerned. The progression moves here and there and doesn’t feel far removed from Radiohead or Porcupine Tree at times. Still, there are sections (like the intricate opening) that land more in balladic folk rock territory. Other sections are closer to something like John Mayer. It’s all accessible, though. Given the complexity of the piece, that’s pretty impressive.
Rain
More of a singer/songwriter ballad, this is a solid tune. Perhaps it’s not as strong as the songs that preceded it, though. It does have a tasty bit of jazz in the mix, though.
The Life (Fall on Me)
Acoustic-Playful folk music is the order of the business on this piece. It’s another strong number. Despite the stripped back arrangement, there is still some jazz here.
Lights
Sound effects and weird keyboard sounds start things. The piece grows out from there with a real modern progressive rock vibe. The vocals are kind of distant and understated on this song and it’s an intriguing change.
Waste
More of an alternative rock meets pop vibe is present here. This is fairly mellow and quite mainstream. Some of the keyboard elements over the top, though, lend a bit of progressive rock to the proceedings.
Which Way I'll Go
Mellow and dreamy, the bits of keyboards in the mix again lend proggy elements. Additionally, the whole musical concept isn’t that far removed from something like Porcupine Tree. I’m also reminded of RPWL. Then again, there are more modern pop elements at play, too.
Where We Are
Singer songwriter concepts meet folk and pop on this number.
Wake Up Love
Mellow acoustic guitar elements drive this piece. It’s very much a folk song, but has more of that modern element at play, too.
Beautiful Day
Bouncy and a bit playful, this is very much a folk meets pop music number. It does move out to a bit more rocking sound later, but retains the same acoustic basis. Some keyboards and more layers of vocals fill it out further down the musical road, too.
Blind My Life
I love this rocker, It’s got a lot of energy and a cool powered up sound. The vocal arrangement is great, too.
Around We Go
With a dream-like, almost jazzy arrangement, while this isn’t Earth-shattering, it’s very effective.
Within My Thoughts
Folk, pop and acoustic jazz merge on this number. It’s classy and classic in nature. There are some great guitar melodies in this thing.
 
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