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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Pearly Clouds

Pearly Clouds

Review by Gary Hill

This is quite an intriguing set. Is it progressive rock? No. Is it progressive music? Yes, absolutely. It combines an acoustic world music element with folk music, psychedelia, jazz and a lot more. It’s always intriguing and compelling. The musicians making up this act are Gary Lucas, Emilio Szabo and Toni Deszo. I should note that, while the titles are in English, the vocals are not. I’m not quite sure what language she is singing in, though.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
My Sweet Mother’s Rosewood

The combination of folk music, psychedelia, world sounds and more built into the start of this is unusual, but really draws the listener into the experience. Around the two and a half minute mark we’re taken into an interlude that seems to bridge the gap between classical music and world sounds. They bring it back to the song proper after that section.

High up Is the Churchyard in D├ęzs
The world music elements are still here, but this gets more of a rock sound at the same time.
Two Roads
There is a soaring space rock element that dances over the top of the bulk of this. There is definitely a trippy atmosphere here. This is part psychedelic rock, part folk rock and part world music. It has things in it that make me think of early Pink Floyd for sure. I like this one better than either of the two that preceded it. The expansive movement mid-track is so cool.
I Dislike How Times Are Changing
There is a healthy dosage of blues and jazz here. Sure, the world music things are still firmly in place, too. The expansive jazzy jamming later in the piece is particularly effective.
Those Beautiful Saxon Girls
The vocals really drive this. The cut has a bit of a New Orleans Cajun element to me. This is great stuff. It’s energized and very classy. There is still a trippy psychedelic thing here. I dig the slide guitar. The break on the piece is full on Dixieland with a bit of a twist to it.
My Snow White
This guitar solo feels like something that could have come from Led Zeppelin’s third album. The acoustic jamming is pretty and expansive. It’s quite intricate. It’s a very effective number, really.
My Little Brown-Haired Girl
We’re back in the vein of the folk turned world music textures. There are some jazzy things that come into the number later. This is one of the least progressive pieces here. That said, it’s very effective.
I Wish I Could Go
I love the mix of world music, trippy proggy psychedelia and jazzy things here. This is another classy piece of music.
Over the Water
I dig the jazzy world music vibe on this one. It’s not a huge change, but somehow it just works better than some of the rest.
Q and A
This is another classy folk world music type thing.
Wayfarer
That Led Zeppelin reference is valid on the guitar here, too. Sure, this is folky world music, but it’s not that far removed from some of the Zep acoustic guitar based stuff. This is one of the more energized and rocking numbers here.
Dream Has Fallen
Trippy prog, jazz and world music are all on display on this tune.
The Mill Has No Grindstone
This is another of the more rocking tunes. It’s sort of energized world music, mixed with acoustic rock and jazz.
Sorrowful Is This World
This is a mellower, more exploratory kind of piece.
 
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