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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Sarah Schonert

Penguin Party

Review by Gary Hill

This is clearly not progressive rock by a conventional definition. It is art rock, though. This has a lot in common with Kate Bush. In fact, that artist is one of the main reference points here. Laurie Anderson would be the other. This type of creative electronic tapestry is unique and largely effective. This isn't for everyone, but there are songs that feel almost mainstream. All in all, I like this a lot.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Astound Me

Very much art music, this makes me think of what you might get if you mashed up the sounds of Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson. This is dramatic and quite cool.

Tree with Feet
There are some definite theatrical elements here. It has a bit of a performance art feeling to it. This is perhaps more closely tied to Laurie Anderson than the opener was. It's intriguing for sure.
Queen of Panels

More of a rock song, this has a lot of the same musical tendencies as we've heard to this point. The vocals bring a bit of a soulful, jazzy quality at times on this song. I like the piano on the number quite a bit.

Queen of Panels Outro

As you might guess, this instrumental carries the musical themes from the previous cut. It loses the rhythmic energy and vocals. There are some lush textures and cool instrumental melodies here.

Penguin Party
Weird electronic stuff opens the title track. The piece is an instrumental bit of electronic class.
Listen Soak Repeat

Artistic and very cool, I like the multiple layers of vocals on this unique piece. While Laurie Anderson is again a valid reference point, this is more organic than that would suggest.

I Can't Think Straight
I really like the keyboard textures on this piece. The cool vocal elements add a lot, too. At times they are processed and alien. At other times they are downright soulful. This is one of the best cuts here. This is one of the most dynamic pieces here and another that calls to mind Kate Bush at times.
Glacier Dive
This electronic piece is purely instrumental. It's also captivating and powerful.
Irrelevant
A rather dynamic cut, this is quite artistic. It is also pretty. It's one of the most accessible tracks here at the same time. This is one of the highlights of the set as far as I'm concerned.
NonCrystalline
Another standout piece, this has some great emotional elements at play in the music. The vocal arrangement makes me think of Tori Amos a bit for some reason. Kate Bush is again a valid reference.
Overdriving Headlights
This is a classy cut. It's kind of an instrumental as the vocals are non-lyrical.
You Still Awake
A bit more of a mainstream song type number, this is intriguing and effective.
Get Thee to a Nunnery

I love the electronic vibe on this cut. The track manages to feel mainstream at the same time. It's another classic example of how this kind of music can be very compelling.

 
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