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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Paul Roland

Bitter and Twisted

Review by Gary Hill

Paul Roland’s music is always quirky and very British. This album fits that description. There is a lot of progressive rock in the mix. In fact, there is generally enough to land it under that heading. Again, this is no exception. At different times I can make out everything from folk music to early Pink Floyd to Genesis, slide blues, psychedelia and more. This might be a great introduction to Roland’s music, but it should definitely please his long time fans, too.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
I’m The Result of an Experiment (Which Went Hideously Wrong)

The opening section of this has a lot of symphonic elements. It’s very British and rather folk like. The cut works out from there to more of a rocker.

Dali’s Dream
As good as the opener was, this is even better. It’s more like early Pink Floyd, but with a more modern edge to it. This is dreamy, trippy and incredibly cool.
Hugo
Somewhat dark, but also very much in the vein of folk prog, this is another great cut.
Devil’s Jukebox
With a lot of retro rock sounds, this is energized. It’s like a modern trippy take on old school rockabilly. This really rocks out with some oddly proggy stuff later.
I’ve Been Hearing Voices
Trippy psychedelically tinged progressive rock is the musical concept here. This covers some musical territory in the course. The expansive instrumental section in particular is pretty much pure prog.
Zanti Misfits
This is quite theatrical in a lot of ways. There are comparisons that could be made to the theatrical side of Gabriel era Genesis. The music works through a number of changes, though. At times it’s closer to something like early Pink Floyd. At other points it is more symphonic prog than that. Yet, space rock elements emerge, too.
Bitter and Twisted
The title track comes in with some electric old school slide blues. It doesn’t really change, that mode making up this song. It’s not prog, but is a little psychedelic.
Another Me
Folk prog with a decidedly British edge is the concept here. The extensive instrumental section showcases prog and psychedelic tendencies in some especially effective jamming.
Catatonic
With guitar soloing throughout much of the track, this is a harder rocking number. It’s almost like old school metal turned psychedelic.
William Bonny’s Trigger Finger
There is bluegrass in the mix here. This one isn’t really prog, but it’s more like nearly pure folk music.
Professor Feather
Folk prog is the main concept here. This has some great symphonic overtones. It’s a pretty song that works quite well.
Born in the 60s
This harder rocking tune is built with some definite psychedelia. This has some cool cultural references. It also includes quotes from the old song “96 Tears.”
Insulted
Here we get a folk styled cut. It’s not proggy, but it does have some psychedelia and some hints of prog. It also earns a small parental advisory on the lyrics. To me, this song is one of the weak points of the set.
Bonus Tracks:
      
Bitter and Twisted (Again) (outtake)

Here we get an alternate of the final song from the album. I think I like this better. It’s a bit less full blues take.

Candyman (acoustic demo)
I like this a lot. It’s not purely acoustic, really. It’s quite trippy and psychedelic in nature.
Hugo (alternate version feat. Alan Jenkins)
I dig this trippy rendition of the piece. I particularly like the organ sound on this.
Zanti Misfits (alternate version feat. Alan Jenkins)
This is very much a cool prog rock piece in this telling. In some ways I think I like this version better than the album one. There are moments that make me think of Hawkwind.
Devil’s Jukebox (acoustic demo)
I like the energized folk rock of this version of the song. It’s another where I think I like the bonus version better than the main one.
 
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