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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

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New Views (Colored Vinyl Edition)

Review by Gary Hill

I have reviewed the CD version of this previously. Since musically, this is the same release, this review will be taken in a large part from that one for the sake of consistency. This new vinyl edition is a nice one. It’s sort of purple or pink in color. The sound quality is quite good, but perhaps not a big improvement over the CD. Here is the original CD review (with the addition of the two sides).

First off, in a very general sense, this is easy to label – progressive rock. Narrowing it down beyond that, though, is a little tougher. I mean, there are times when it feels related to 1980s prog like Asia and Yes’ Drama album. Other points seem closer to space rock. Then there are moments more tied to fusion. Even things like Celtic music show up as influences at time. However you slice it, though, this is compelling and entertaining.

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
Side A

                    
Icebreaker
The keyboard laden sound that opens this resembles 1980s progressive rock. Yes, there is such a thing and I happen to like it. Think Yes’ Drama album and Asia’s first album. This gets more involved and turns towards mid-period Genesis for a short section, then comes back out into the main section again. From there it turns to something else that’s quite tasty. The cut keeps shifting and getting altered as it continues, but it never ceases to be progressive rock, or interesting.
Too Much At One Time
Keys open this in a fast paced jazz way. The guitar that rises up quickly, though, separates this from that and the sound of the previous number. In fact, early on there are some hints of something like Rush. As it continues, though, this becomes more of a fusion endeavor, feeling like something Al Di Meola might do. Still, as this continues there are some segments where the guitar work definitely calls to mind Steve Howe. The thing is, there’s a bit of a Celtic jam later, too. There is definitely more material later that feels like Yes, too.
A New Morning
With intricate acoustic guitar work, this is pretty and sedate. It’s a mellow progressive rock ballad. It’s a nice cut that does a good job of shifting things in a new direction for a change.
Climbing to the Top
Mellow keyboard tones open this, but the rocking sound emerges shortly. This is another that makes me think of Yes quite a bit. There are also some top layers that call to mind space rock, ala Hawkwind. As the guitar solos melodically over the top there is more fusion in the mix. This goes in a lot of different directions as it continues.
Unknown Destination
When I think about this song and the influences I hear, I find myself bouncing between Tangerine Dream and Mike Oldfield. There is also some Pink Floyd at times, and one might argue for Kraftwerk, too. Whatever you call it in terms of influences, though, this is a cool tune with a great groove.
Side B
                           
New Views
At almost 22-minutes in length, this piece is of epic proportions. It starts off very mellow and grows very gradually. These early sections, based on a prominent acoustic guitar motif, make me think of Yes Keys to Ascension albums (the new material from those discs). This grows incredibly slowly, but much of the acoustic guitar work really does feel like Steve Howe. It’s not until after the nine minute mark that this thing really rises up to the realms of rock music. It’s got some energy and still bears a resemblance to Yes. There are definitely some fusion moments, too, as it continues. Other elements arise as this continues on from there. Personally, I think the mellow opening section could have been trimmed a bit, but after this works out to more rocking melodic fusion based progressive rock, it’s a great piece of music. It drops to a percussive section later that makes me think of something from Genesis’ Duke album. Appropriately, some of the music leading up to that calls to mind Genesis a bit. After that percussion movement, keyboards usher in some new sounds. Although, that remains pretty sedate, with those keyboards just sort of moving around over the top of that rhythmic parade. There are some non-lyrical vocals, though. Something we heard earlier, that rise up over the drums later. Then we get a melodious, rather playful section beyond that point. Then it works out to more full progressive rock, but still rather mellow. Again, I’m reminded quite a bit of Yes.
 
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