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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lake

Greatest Hits

Review by Gary Hill

So, this album might be mostly for collectors. On the other hand, I think it would be a great first stop for someone wanting to sample this band. I’ve loved Lake since their first album was released. Their type of sound, with a lot of prog rock mixed into a pop rock kind of arrangement isn’t far removed from Supertramp. I previously reviewed all the studio albums the band ever released (at least I think so), but this album has a song I hadn’t heard (or reviewed before). The liner notes are all in German, so I can’t say for sure where that song comes from. It should be noted that since I reviewed all the other songs (with the exception of “The Sound of America”) before, the track reviews for them are taken from or adapted from those original reviews for the sake of consistency.

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
On the Run

Keys start this off and the band launch into a catchy cut that’s got a bit of a funk texture to it at times. The chorus has a killer guitar riff, but also a sound that’s not very far removed from disco. At times this reminds me of a more powered up and proggy version of Christopher Cross. There’s also an especially tasty (and rather extended) guitar solo later in the piece.

Glad to Be Here
While this has more of a straightforward rock feeling to it, there are bits of guitar that bring in a Yes reference.
Red Lake
A bit funky, this is a great bouncy rock cut with progish tendencies. The pre-chorus is in awesome mellower modes and the chorus feels a bit like a more proggy Head East.
Time Bomb
This song was a hit for the band. A ticking clock rhythmic structure combines with an intricate piano line. The first vocals come over the top and it feels a bit like Yes meets Supertramp as it continues in this balladic fashion. Strings are added as it modulates out into the next section. They keep it balladic for a time and then add other instruments to power it out. When they do, it feels a bit like Klaatu. While this song is catchy, it works through a number of changes and the arrangement is complex. It’s quite firmly progressive rock, but the pop side of progressive rock.
Love's A Jailer
With a killer piano intro that calls to mind Elton John, as the cut carries on, so do those tendencies. The E. J.  influences are in the mode of the more dramatic and powerful of his catalog and those that include strong progressive rock tendencies.
Hopeless Love
This is another prog meets pop type of tune. It’s good but perhaps not quite as strong as some of the other stuff on the disc. While it would have been a strong piece on some other albums, the other music here is so powerful that it just sort of pales a bit.
Lost By the Wayside
A straight ahead rocking cut, this one is fun and energetic.
Angel In Disguise
Fast paced and energetic, this cut is great fun prog based pop rock and includes a killer progish chorus.
Crystal Eyes
A mellower and more melodic number, this is also more firmly in a progressive rock style. There’s a tasty rock and roll acoustic guitar solo on this piece. I would think of this kind of like a hybrid of the sounds of Yes and America.
Do I Love You?
This is a ballad that’s evocative and pretty. I’m sure many would consider this to be a pure pop song. Admittedly there’s not that much prog in the mix here. It is a very powerful piece of music, though. Strings add to the arrangement.
Celebrate
A quick paced piano part starts this and the rest of the band join in a few measures. This is trademark Lake, and it’s also quite strong. The vocal arrangement is exceptionally strong and this is just plain great 1970s rock music that feels a bit like Supertramp meets Elton John and Pablo Cruise.
Living For Today
Another fun one, this feels a bit like Toto and Supertramp. It’s got more energy than some of the other music, but isn’t a real powerhouse. While this is one of the weaker numbers on show here, it’s still very strong. That is an indication of just how great a band Lake were at that time. Some of the guitar soloing sounds a bit like Steve Howe.
Jesus Came Down
Here’s another that’s basically a ballad, but it’s certainly quite progressive rock oriented. Parts of it call to mind Hawkwind a bit. The more powered up section has some definite Yes-like elements. This is a powerful piece of music.
Jamaica High

They start this one in mellow tones that seem like a continuation of the previous piece. It shifts out to a more energized, rather funky arrangement from there. This doesn’t have the energy of some of the earlier pieces, but it’s definitely a step up in terms of vitality from the cut that came right before it. The chorus is a bit more involved.

Key to the Rhyme

This intricate and complex piece is quite definitely progressive rock. There are moments that are more pop-oriented, but it’s actually pretty close to something Yes might do. There is a killer keyboard solo segment late in the piece.

The Sound of America
There is a real AOR sound here. I love the vocal hooks, and the guitar sound has some tasty parts for sure.  It’s a bit like Alan Parsons’ more commercial edge with some Toto in the mix. It’s a strong tune and worth having. I’m not sure if it’s worth the price of admission by itself, but it’s classy enough.
The Final Curtain
Another balladic cut, this is quite definitely progressive rock, particularly in the instrumental section later in the piece which calls to mind vintage Genesis quite a bit. This (as the title might suggest) is about a man at the end of his life. It’s poignant, powerful and quite beautiful.
 
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