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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

David Hayes

Epics (Acoustic Version)

Review by Gary Hill

This is rather unusual. David Hayes took his album Epics and reworked all the songs, creating an acoustic version of the set. So, as I said that’s unusual. This is also very strong. I’m not sure which version of the album I like best. They are two very different, but related, creations. It would be like deciding which fraternal twin you liked better. I did review the other version previously, but this stuff is different enough that I’m not going to reference that review here. You are welcome (and encouraged) to look through our archives and find that review to compare them yourself, though.

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

Track by Track Review
Backwards

Classical styled piano serves as the backdrop for the vocals. This has a real 1970s rock vibe. Then it shifts to more of a soft rock element as the guitar and other instruments join. The piano returns as the driving factor after the guitar based movement and then the two things get combined as it works toward the end. It makes me think of Cat Stevens a little on that more rocking section, while the piano based one reminded me of The Beatles.

Black
I really like this one a lot, too. The early sections have a magical kind of dreamy quality. Later parts have a Latin vibe to them. It’s great acoustic rock. I suppose some of the guitar bits make me think of The Eagles a bit, but the song overall has a different texture. On the surface this feels rather simple, but if you really listen it’s very nicely complex.
Persistent Memory
An acoustic guitar driven mellow texture opens this. The cut is another that makes me think of The Beatles just a bit. It has a definite folk rock vibe in this acoustic treatment. When the piano comes in after a time, it feels quite a bit like early Genesis to me. When it gets more rocking later, it takes us into a different dimension. It’s still has a folk rock vibe, but more of a folk prog thing. The thing gets very powerful as it continues working through.
Odyssey
String arrangements and more combine on this piano based rocker. It’s really so classic in texture. It’s also powerful.
Crazy
In a lot of ways this is more of a straight rocker than some of the other stuff here. That said, it’s still acoustic, so don’t expect something approaching metal. Instead, this is an energized acoustic rocker.
After All
Piano and voice lead this off in gentle fashion. It doesn’t grow in terms of additional instrumentation. It does get much more intense and evocative as it continues, though.
La Dee
Earning a major parental advisory on the lyrics, this is a great acoustic rocker.
Love Makers
We’re back into rather Beatles like territory with this energetic melodic rocker. It has plenty of folk music and world sounds built into it, too.
Paranoid
Here’s another cool rocker. This has a lot of world music and some jazz built into it. It’s a guitar based number. It really has a lot of energy.
Behind You
This is a powerhouse cut. It’s got some great strings and proggy elements. The piano drives it nicely. The whole thing just gels quite well.
 
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