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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Alex Carpani

So Close, So Far

Review by Gary Hill

This is such a great album. In fact, it’s one that might well make my “best of 2016” list. The sound lands closer to the modern prog end of the spectrum, but it’s definitely rooted in older sounds, too. There are mellower sections and other parts that reach near to metal. It gets into some seriously soaring territory. It always lands on the melodic prog end of the equation, though. This thing is darned near a perfect album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at

Track by Track Review
The Eve

Sounds that seem to be crackling embers in fire start this. Then echoey keyboards enter. After a short time like that, acoustic guitar rises into the number. This feels very much like Pink Floyd as it continues to evolve. It’s slow, thoughtful and powerfully moody. This instrumental runs less than two and a half minutes, but is quite dramatic.

I Tried and Tried
Much harder rocking, this is a fast paced AOR prog styled jam. It’s definitely tied to fusion in a lot of ways. It has a great energy. The vocal hooks are fairly catchy, and the song drops to a more mainstream rock vein for the vocal segments. This is really a classy prog tune that is more modern than classic, but yet has definite ties to the prog of old.
Man on the Wire
Keys start this in a mode that makes me think of a space rock version of Stevie Wonder. The song grows out with fusion and Santana like elements. It gets into harder rocking territory from there. The vocals come over the top of a more AOR styled sound. Parts of this, though, make me think of Saga for some reason. There are some seriously hard edged sections, too, bringing it closer to the vein of a slightly less crunchy Dream Theater. I love the keyboard solo segment. It has a bit of an ELP element.
Stay With Me
This starts intricate and like a prog ballad. As it grows out from there it resembles RPWL in some ways. The powered up jamming later, though is perhaps closer to a prog version of Led Zeppelin to my ears. It gets more jazzy as the piano takes control.
In Your Absence
The guitar part that starts this is seriously crunchy. As it launches out to more of a full on prog arrangement it definitely makes me think of the Dream Theater school of prog rock. This is fast paced, hard edged and so cool. It’s definitely got some serious metal built into it. Then it drops back to pure mellow, melodic prog. Another blast of high energy stuff gives way to a drop to the mellower, Pink Floyd-like, end of the spectrum for the first vocals. That section definitely makes me think of RPWL, but it gets punctuated by more crunchy stuff and then a soaring high energy prog jam. This is such a dynamic and powerful piece of music really. It’s one of my favorites here for sure. There is another blast of crunch at the end.
Let My Drop of Sweat Fall Down

This comes in mellow, providing a stark contrast to the hard edge of the last song’s closing. This has a definite RPWL vibe to it as it grows into being. It’s quite electronic, but has an almost soulful element in some ways. It’s mellower and more mainstream in a lot of ways. Yet it does have energy and a bit of oomph. In some ways it makes me think of Europop and the electronic music of the 80s.

Crystal Falls
Electronic stuff opens this, almost feeling like something from a soundtrack to me. The cut grows out from there without moving from the central concept. As the vocals join it starts to again make me think of RPWL. There is a cool retro tinged hard rocking groove later. This really develops into high energy melodic prog that’s quite tasty. The instrumental section further down the road is really a powerhouse. When it works back to the song proper, it really has an added amount of power and that continues to build. There is a climax followed by atmospherics to end.
One Face One Lie
This opens with atmospherics. Martin Luther King’s voice comes over the top of that arrangement. Acoustic guitar eventually joins. As the vocals enter and King’s voice drops away, this becomes another that makes me think of RPWL. This gets a bit more energized and powerful as it builds.
Next Time
Starting more in the electronic vein, this gets more rocking as it continues. There are some 80s elements here along with a modern soaring prog rock sound. This gets into some almost Genesis like stuff mid-track in an instrumental section. There are other classic prog elements at play, too.
The Last Sign
The closer might be the best track on the album. It starts with piano, but it’s really one of the most dynamic cuts here. As the arrangement gets more lush for the vocals, it again makes me think of RPWL a bit. It is evocative and powerful. It’s mellow, but certainly not understated. Then it powers out to some hard edged melodic prog from there. This piece keeps intensifying and growing as it continues. It really turns quite soaring and powerful as it moves forward. As the song ends the sounds that started the album return, suggesting that it’s a cyclical experience.
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