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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dead Guitars

Shelter (vinyl)

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve included this new vinyl release under progressive rock. That’s because I think that almost everything here has a lot in common with shoegaze and other modern prog. You might disagree, though because there is a big 80s music reference point. No matter how you classify, this, though, it’s a strong record. It’s also a great vinyl edition featuring a high quality record that sounds great.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Side A

                
Heaven Seven

Starting mellow and a bit dreamy, this works out to something that seems to merge energized shoegaze with a sound a bit like The Cure. This is accessible, driving and very cool. It has enough modern prog to land it there.

Happy Sad
This is very much like the Europop of the 80s. I love the horns, but the whole piece is cool. It still has quite a bit of that Cure thing going on, too.
Half Light / Hangout In Heaven
The opening segment here has a real Beatles-like psychedelic sound. It gets turned toward punky space music as the vocals enter. After the first vocal movement, those two sounds seem to get merged in a lot of ways. This really does make me think of The Beatles quite a bit in this first section. There are definite shoegaze sounds built into the second part. The two things work so well together. This is a real powerhouse piece. It’s also distinctly modern progressive rock. It’s one of my favorite songs here, too. The short closing section almost feels like Pink Floyd to me.
I Surrender
While there are moments of the first couple songs that remind me of The Cure, this has a lot of another band from that period with a similar name in the mix – The Church. I love the moody kind of vibe here. This also has some Pink Floyd built into it. It’s another fits pretty well under a modern prog heading, feeling quite a bit like something like RPWL to me. This really gets intense and involved in later sections. It also makes me think of Hogarth era Marillion a lot. This is definitely one of my favorites on this album.
Side B
                      
Bullet Proof

The opening of this somehow makes me think of the Rolling Stones just a bit. As it works out from there, shoegaze merges with that and some elements of the Beatles emerge here.

Mona Lisa
This driving rocker has a lot of the Cure along with shoegaze built into it. It seems equally comfortable in the 1980s as it does in 2015.
Wooden Head
I love the dreamy quality of this. It still has plenty of 80s sound, but this is so much like things like Porcupine Tree and modern Marillion in so many ways. With some hints of Americana, there is such a great trippy, dreamy vibe to this piece.
Mandy's House
More hard rock based, this is a killer tune. It has some great guitar soloing, with an Americana edge. Yet, there are still hints of shoegaze in the arrangement. This is one of two songs on the set that doesn’t have a lot of prog built into it. Yet, there are still some hints in both tunes. As it gets more involved later that becomes more true. It definitely has plenty of ties to modern prog in that final growing segment. It showcases both space rock and shoegaze, in fact.
 
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