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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

RPWL

Wanted

Review by Gary Hill

In general you just can’t go wrong with RPWL. Their version of modern progressive rock is always evocative and powerful. They consistently produce great stuff, and this is the latest installment. It lives up to that hype, too. Like pretty much everything from the group, comparisons to Pink Floyd are appropriate. After all, they started as a Pink Floyd tribute band. This stretches well beyond that, though. However you slice it, this is great modern progressive rock from a band that consistently turns out just that.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Revelation

This instrumental feels like electronic music as it opens. Around the thirty second mark it gets some crunch added to the mix. The piece works out from there in style for a short time. Then it drops back to a percussive section before some hard edged prog, a bit like Dream Theater, takes it in a new direction. As this keeps shifting and turning a number of elements emerge. The typical comparison with RPWL – Pink Floyd – is appropriate at some times. It’s a cool tune that works really. The retro organ sounds are classy.

Swords and Guns
There are some great melodies on this progressive rocker. It’s a killer tune that works really well. The Pink Floyd elements are still on display, but really there is so much more going on here. I like this a lot. It has a lot of musical magic. We get some catchy vocals hooks and musical layers are just so cool. It is nicely heavy at times, but has mellower moments, too. I love the keyboard solo section. That section turns out into an extensive and extremely powerful instrumental movement.
A Clear Cut Line
Melodic, atmospheric sounds open this and it builds out gradually from there. It is a fairly short instrumental piece that serves as a connecting device.
Wanted
I absolutely love this track. The vocal arrangement and performance on this is incredible and the driving progressive rock is exceptional, too. This is one of the most instantly accessible numbers here, but it’s also got plenty of prog meat. It is definitely one of the highlights of the set.
Hide and Seek
This is another that’s pretty amazing. The opening section is very Pink Floyd like. It’s dreamy and mellow. They fire it out later in the track into some awesome progressive rock jamming, though. The alternating between those two sounds is spectacular and this is another highlight.
Disbelief
Bluesy guitar with some modern vocal bits over the top makes up a big chunk of this song. They alternate that with some modern prog that’s based in retro and Pink Floyd sounds. The balance between the two is effective, but this just doesn’t stand as tall as the last couple numbers. Of course, that’s more about those songs than it is about this one. The mellow, Floydian bridge is one of the standout parts of the piece, though. The harder edged instrumental section that follows it also stands out.
Misguided Thought
There is a lush modern progressive rock sound to this piece. The vocal hooks are powerful. It really feels packed with emotion. The Pink Floyd comparisons are well-earned here. Overall, this is another especially strong piece. I like this a lot. There’s one section here that almost makes me think of The Who’s “Boris the Spider,” but done as a prog instrumental segment.
Perfect Day
Pink Floyd is a big reference here, but there are some other concepts, as well. This is another great example of modern progressive rock with classic leanings. I love the balance between the more rocking and mellower sections. The vocal hooks are great, too. There is a real soaring element here. This has a real groove in segments.
The Attack
This comes in with a real hard rocking sound. It wouldn’t be a stretch of the imagination to think it was a metal tune. The verse, though, is more stripped back. This thing is the hardest rocker of the bunch. There are still plenty of prog elements at play, though. The powerful resolution later, in particular is nearly all progressive rock.
A New Dawn
The first sections of this are based on just acoustic guitar with little else but the voice. It gets a little more lush arrangement later, but remains ballad like. Then, just before the three and a half minute mark some crunchy guitar brings some harder rock to the table. This is definitely another piece with a lot of Pink Floyd in the mix. It’s also another winner on an album that’s full of winners.
 
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