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Progressive Rock CD Reviews


Hard Chargin'

Review by Gary Hill

Here's what I can tell you about this band. You can't go wrong with their music. It's always decidedly left of center, yet it's often oddly catchy. This new disc showcases that. These guys are definitely progressive rock, but in a more far-reaching, rather than limiting way. It seems that they have almost no rules. They are all over the place on this set, but yet make it work incredibly well.


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Track by Track Review
Have A Drink With Dreadnaught

This powers in with a cool twisted retro sound. It works to a hard rocking jam that makes me think of King's X quite a bit. There are some intriguing shifts and changes as it pushes forward. The killer guitar solo really rocks.

Gaudy Baubles
This is much more purely proggy. It's an instrumental jam that shifts this way and that. It's a lot of fun. It includes things that make me think of Jethro Tull, others that feel like Rush and parts that wander toward fusion.
That's The Way That You Do It (My Way)
A little less than a minute in length, this starts with just a voice saying/singing the title over some drumming. They power into some prog rock jamming with some fusion, some punk and some hints of The B-52s in it. Those vocals return and the cut is just an off-kilter and oddly compelling piece.
Takin' A Ride With The Fat Man (Fatta Fatta Puck Puck)

Psychedelic textures lead this out of the gate. They move it out to an old school mainstream rock styled sound. They takes this trough quite a few shifts and changes. There are parts of this that remind me of Primus. Other things call to mind Djam Karet. Still other parts sound a bit like something Frank Zappa would do. Yet they manage to keep it somehow catchy. That's a real super-power if you ask me. It does get into some trippy stuff mid-track leading into a drum solo. From there they come back into something closer to the song proper and eventually make it to the chorus again. There is a weird almost psychedelic section at the end with some weird sound effects built into it.

This comes in a bit like an electronic song. It turns toward some funky stuff, feeling quite soulful. I'd have to say that it almost makes me think of something Parliament might have done. This is just over a minute and a half long and seems to work straight into the next cut.
Express Delight
Serious weirdness starts this trippy cut. This seems very free-form and psychedelic. It's quite odd in a lot of ways, leaning more towards atmospherics and sound-effects than actual music. Then a bit before the two and a half minute mark it shifts out to a melodic jazz jam that just oozes cool. They take this instrumental into more of a pure prog jam as they continue later. It's definitely cool stuff and quite different from anything to this point. It's arguably the most dynamic cut here. There are some non-lyrical vocals around the six minute mark. Those vocals return at the end, too.
That's The Way That You Do It (Your Way)

Here they give us a weird country tune at the start. This has to be tongue-in-cheek. It's so much down-home sound for the first 40 seconds or so. Then they twist it into weird space rock for a mid-section. They bring back the country vocals for the end. This is just over two-minutes long.

Gets The Grease
Piano starts this, and the horn brings it into jazz territory. That horn seriously wails in some uncomfortable ways as this continues. I guess it's the squeaky wheel. This is less than a minute and a half long and purely instrumental.
Slave Girls
This comes in with a rather mellow and tentative jam that makes me think of early King Crimson in some ways. It eventually turns a corner into some kind of weird technical metal jamming. Yet there is still some King Crimson in it. The vocals join and bring something a bit like King's X to it. They include some weird freeform jams here and there. The cut is another that just keeps shifting and changing, working through all kinds of different movements. They take it out to a violin based jam later in the cut that seems a bit like Kansas but with some real country music in the mix. They don't stay in one place for long, though, that one included, instead shifting it through different modes and moods.
Mummies Of The Cobbosseecontee
At over ten and a half minutes in length, this is the longest cut here. It starts with a percussion meets sound effects weirdness section. It moves from there to something that's very jazzy. By around the two minute mark enough mellow rock has been introduced to bring it more into fusion territory. Then before it hits the three minute mark some hard rocking guitar enters and we're moving in a new direction. It's still quite fusion-like, though. There are definitely bits of metallic crunch in the mix, though. They take this through so many different sounds and styles throughout the duration. At times it's more pure progressive rock. At other points it's closer to more mainstream 1970s rock.
That's The Way That You Do It (Our Way)

The final version of the earlier tune that was presented to different ways, this one is more punk turned jazz. It's a fun, high energy rendition.

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